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God in Evolution 





Amid all that is problemalu this at letki is certain: • i t -Xj"tr'2ife 
is no empty surface-dallying. Something momentously significant 
is going forward in it, a movement with vhi'tfa we our selves have 
much to do, the direction of which we are? quite[ ivell able to 
gauge. — Rudolf Eucken 








[ W • D • O ] 


THE argument to which attention is called 
in the following pages is intimately related 
to that of a book written some twenty- 
years ago, entitled "What is Reality?" 1 parts of 
two chapters of which are brought together and 
re-stated in Appendix A of this book. 

On some accounts the interval that separates 
the two is infelicitous. But, on the other hand, 
it is an advantage; for a fundamental principle 
of the method herein advocated if., that the 
value of any theory can be demonstrated only by 
the test of experience. And ; at the end of two 
decades of scientific and philosophical activity, 
it is encouraging to iind that the stream of 
thought on which the earlier venture was launched 
has swollen into a great river, carrying philos- 
ophies of high import. 

The answer then given to the question — 
"What is Reality?" has found substantial en- 
dorsement in the pragmatic method of James 
and Schiller and Dewey, and in the trend of 
a wide-spread movement of scattered thought 

1 Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1891, Boston and New York, 
pp. xxvii + 510. 




that is thoroughly, though often unconsciously, 

In other words, the foundations, laid twenty 
years ago, having solidified rather than crumbled, 
a strong inducement is offered to attempt a more 
specific application of this method to theology. 
And, if a renewed appeal to the actualities of ex- 
perience shall be found to yield some intelligible 
answers in this department, it will surely not 
be a matter of "carrying coals to Newcastle." 



The Situation 1 

Concerning Method 18 

General Aspects of Evolution 37 

The Process and its Interpretation .... 60 

The Omnipotence of God 84 

Evolution and the Doctrine of God's Benevolence 102 

The Mandate of Evolution 135 

Work Out Your Own Salvation 154 

The Future of Evolution 173 

Analogy from the Nervous System . . . . 190 

The Great Ideal 212 

Two Formulas 233 

Experience and Will 259 

Life's Lesser Enthusiasms 278 

The Will to Love 296 

Appendix A. The Evidential Value of Analogy 311 

Appendix B. Henry Bergson 341 




THEOLOGY has been, and must con- 
tinue to be, implicated in the move- 
ments that take place in the cognate 
departments of science and philosophy. The 
three interpenetrate each other, and a living 
theology is at all times sensitive to changes of 
attitude in the other two. Not that it is derived 
from either, or both of them, or that it is, at 
any time, vitally dependent upon them. It 
grows out of and is rooted in the real experi- 
ences of men in their spiritual relations. It will 
continue to live and energize in the world even 
though science and philosophy should be arrayed 
against it. 

But it is needless to say that under such cir- 
cumstances it would be at a disadvantage. It 
would not exert its legitimate influence. The 
situation would be abnormal. The three should 
march together, be mutually supporting, restrain- 
ing, inspiring. And if I am not mistaken, it is 
toward such a condition of things that the ever- 
turning wheels of evolution are carrying us. 



Through our antagonisms, and even by means of 
them, we are fighting our way to a better under- 
standing. Each department, by loyalty to its 
own aspect of the truth, has helped to work out 
the one great problem. Even controversy, which 
at times seems so barren, has helped to eliminate 
useless issues and clarify the medium of thought 
in which we move. 

The present outlook is, from some points of 
view at least, most interesting and full of promise; 
for in each of the three departments there is a 
germinal movement, a new departure and, also 
discernible, a common centre toward which all 
three converge. 

The situation is, in important respects, like 
that of the early Christian centuries, when old 
conservative religions of separate nations budded 
forth, each one with a new version of itself; and 
old philosophies enlarged and adapted themselves 
in obedience to new aspects of truth that had 
dawned upon the consciousness of the race. The 
ancient Persian faith gave birth to Mithraism; 
that of Egypt to the cult of Isis, and the grand 
old Hebrew religion, to Christianity; and, in all 
three, the new elements had much in common. 
So also with the old philosophies, the new versions 
moved toward one vaguely-defined goal, and also 
tended to assimilation with the new religions. 

To-day, in science, in philosophy and in religion 
there are similar vigorous outgrowths, embody- 
ing a new way of looking at things. In science 


it is the gradual decay of the mechanical con- 
ception of the world, and the substitution for it 
of a psychological interpretation of its phenom- 
ena. In philosophy it is the protest on the 
part of a considerable body of concrete thinkers, 
who employ in their constructions a method that 
deals, to use Professor John Dewey's phrase, 
with whole, not half, ideas. Breaking with the 
abstractions and negations of the past, this school 
puts itself in communication with actual experi- 

In religion, that is, in the statement of it which 
we call theology, there is a movement, not con- 
certed, not clearly formulated, but with well- 
defined convergent tendencies. As in the elder 
day, so now, there is a common motive underly- 
ing views that, to some extent, are divergent. 
Then, the movement was away from polytheism 
and toward some form of monotheism; now, it 
is away from the thought of God as external to 
the universe, and toward some conception of 
Him as its living, in-dwelling principle. 

Perhaps I am over-sanguine in my forecast of 
the outcome of these new departures in science, 
philosophy and theology, but it seems to me 
written in the very nature of the great process 
itself that it must be some harmonizing synthesis. 

The little world of the Ego, in which each one 
of us lives, has been built up gradually by adding 
concept to concept, and by the successive correla- 
tion of these additions, in progressively larger 


syntheses. In the course of growth, some of 
these additions have easily and naturally fitted 
in to what was previously organized; but, on 
the other hand, many of them have had to pass 
through much tribulation before they could be 
received. The highly-organized personality that 
every normally balanced adult has come to be, 
contains many elements that, originally hetero- 
geneous and unassimilable, have come to be 
correlated parts of a conscious personality. 

The same is true of the vastly complicated 
social organism; and in its history we can trace 
the gradual amalgamation of families and tribes 
and nations, through long-drawn-out antago- 
nisms, into larger and still larger organizations. 
And, in every case, these transformations have 
been brought about only in part and formally 
by the coercive power of external events, and 
essentially and intensively by internal growth 
changes, — expansions of thought and purpose, 
and wider outlooks. Except for these there would 
have been no real assimilation, no efficient unity.* 

Over and over again this process has been 
repeated on life's stage; and we may as well 
doubt the continued revolution of the earth 
through space, as to doubt the continuance of 
the onward movement toward this enlargement 
and correlation of thought. We may not indeed 

*A most valuable exposition of this process of mental 
organization is given in " Mind in Evolution " by L. T. 
Hobhouse, M.A., Chapter XIII. 


dream of a total cessation of antagonism. When 
one set of contrarieties has been adjusted, another 
set, on a wider field, emerges. Were it not so, 
mental evolution would be arrested. 

But, for the immediate outlook, I think we 
may say that science, philosophy and theology, 
that have for a long time been passing through 
the phase of separation, and sometimes of antag- 
onism, are now, in the light of wider concepts, 
drawing together. The lines of demarcation 
are fading out, the larger view is at hand. Our 
science becomes philosophical and our philosophy 
becomes scientific; and both lead up to, and 
imply, theology. Some of the best intellects are 
working synthetically; not confining themselves 
exclusively to the one aspect of truth represented 
in a department, but reaching out to find the 
truest expression of the reality underlying all. 

This movement has given us such men as the 
late William James, and the French philosopher, 
Henri Bergson. In each separate department, 
also, it has brought forth those who, without 
venturing beyond their own chosen line of work, 
have, within that sphere, so reconstructed its spec- 
ulative outlooks as to strengthen the thought 
that is being worked out elsewhere : — such men 
as the embryologist, Hans Driesch, who, beginning 
his career with the acceptance of the purely me- 
chanical view of organic development, was car- 
ried by his studies to the necessity of assuming 
an undefined influence, guiding the mechanical 


forces toward the realization of ends. Such men 
also as Reinke, and the physiologist Bunge, who 
advocates seeking a knowledge of the creative 
impulse by using what we know of causation 
in the internal world of our own consciousness, 
for the interpretation of that which transpires in 
the external world of material organization. 

We must not allow the significance of this 
movement to be obscured by the names that are 
given to its different developments with the word 
neo prefixed. The labels " neo-Lamarckism " or 
"neo- vitalism " may serve a useful purpose as 
indicating a certain relatedness between the 
present and the past of speculative thought; but 
when these are used to identify in any measure 
the old form with the new, when the new is called 
a " recurrence to mediaeval mysticism,' 7 or a 
" pseudo-metaphysical theory of life," they are 
misleading. Such a treatment of recurrent phases 
of thought is not in the interest of light-bearing 
but of obscuration. 

We recognize, as those of an elder day often 
did not, that human thought ascends as a spiral, 
and that each new turn introduces hypotheses 
that, more or less, resemble phases of speculation 
abandoned on a lower plane. They are, in some 
respects, the same, but essentially different in 
that, through the removal of limitations in some 
directions and the positive enlargement of thought 
in others, they are so modified and reset as to be 
completely transformed. The psychological ex- 


planations of evolution that are today labelled 
neo-Lamarckism are no more than a reminder of 
the hypothesis of the eminent naturalist of a 
century and a half ago ; and the comparison of the 
vitalism of to-day with that of Aristotle borders 
on the grotesque. 

In the department of theology, while there is 
a strong and sustained unanimity of dissent from 
certain phases of inherited belief, and while 
there are, as we have said, marked convergent 
tendencies in the transformation of thought, and 
much enthusiasm also on the part of individuals 
and groups of individuals for newly-apprehended 
aspects of the truth, there is, as yet, no pronounced 
principle of solidarity binding the positive aspects 
of the work together, nothing of that commanding 
power that emanates from the assent of a multi- 
tude, or even of a select few whom men have 
learned to trust. At the same time, there exists 
a profound and growing conviction that such a 
solidarity, such a preponderating weight of agree- 
ment, is not only possible but, that it ought to 
be realized. There is no department of life in 
which certitude is more ardently, or reasonably, 
longed for. But, the very growth process that 
stimulates religious thinking seems to be the 
natural and unavoidable enemy of certitude. 

How then is confidence to be restored without 
going back to the policy of a fixed immovable 
theology? Can anything be substituted for the 


divine authority of the church? Within the Ro- 
man church, the Modernist movement accentu- 
ates this issue, though the problem to be solved 
is not essentially different from that of Protes- 

The difference in the two situations is that the 
latter, having lived through three centuries of 
denominational antagonism, is, in some sort, 
inured to its disabilities, — has, so to speak, 
adjusted itself to a modus Vivendi, though deeply 
conscious of its unsatisf actoriness : while Mod- 
ernism, viewing this same experience from without, 
sees in its outcome an object-lesson, a terrible 
warning. Hence a dilemma; the substance of 
which is stated by Father Tyrrell in the following 
words: — " Taught by history, God's great logic- 
mill, which has worked out both these sixteenth 
century solutions, the solution of unfettered 
authority and the solution of unfettered liberty 
to their impossible results, he (the modernist), 
will see the necessity of going back to the point 
of divergence." * 

The modernist, in other words, is in search of 
some new way, that shall work experimentally, 
and, at the same time, yield the advantages of 
authority and liberty. 

The possibility that naturally suggests itself 
is that of combination, — the adoption of a 
method that shall associate the two desirable 

* " Passing Protestantism and coming Catholicism," by 
Newman Smyth, p. 182. 


elements in such manner that neither shall over- 
ride the other, but that each shall exercise a 
restraining and supporting power. Such a method 
ought to be found, because all the movements 
of the world are organized on a similar plan. 
The great upward creative process which we call 
evolution is the outcome of antagonistic forces 
that act and react upon each other after just 
such a fashion. 

But the achievement of such a method is not 
so simple a matter as it might at first seem, not 
so simple as it actually did seem in the early 
days of the great secession from Rome. For 
while Protestantism leads logically to what 
Father Tyrrill calls unfettered liberty, it has, as 
matter of fact, been striving all through the years 
to reach just such a combination as that contem- 
plated. And the great question of to-day is, 
can we go any farther in this direction? Does 
the experience of the past encourage the hope, 
long deferred, that this desideratum will be 
supplied? Is there, at the present day, any 
emergence of new elements that may render 
practicable a combination that has not been a 
success hitherto, and that is working more and 
more limpingly as time goes on? 

The impression prevails in some quarters that 
the Modernist movement may somehow bring 
to Protestantism a kind of authority, tempered 
by liberty, which will prove the very thing which 
it long has sought, and that the Christian church 


as a whole may thus realize a stable, and, at the 
same time, a living and growing unity. 

To many others, however, this hope seems to 
lack foundation, because the kind of authority 
thus provided differs in no respect from that to 
which so long a trial has been given: and a radi- 
cally different way of surmounting the difficulty is 
proposed : — the substitution, that is, of another 
kind of authority. The gist of their argument 
may, I think, be stated somewhat as follows. 
The effort to combine ecclesiastical authority and 
liberty has failed to work, because it is an attempt 
to unite in action two motives that are not of the 
same order, two mutually irreconcilable elements. 
Liberty of thought is a living, growing, aggres- 
sive principle. Divinely appointed, ecclesiasti- 
cal authority is a static, immovable, inelastic 
principle; one that does not simply restrain 
liberty, but abolishes it. It is yoking together 
the dead and the living. One, or the other, of 
these must, in the long run, triumph and reign 
supreme. But, what alternative is there? 

In the April, 1911, number of the "Hibbert 
Journal " there is an appeal from the side of science 
to theology entitled, "Can Theology become 
Scientific?"* in which the following questions 
are put to theologians: — "Are they willing to 
regard religious facts as the primal realities 
wherewith they are concerned, and theological 
*By M. M. Pattison Muir, M.A. 


theories as instruments for acquiring rationalized 
knowledge of these facts, not as answers to 
enigmas in which they can rest ? Are they 
willing to measure the truthfulness of theological 
ideas by their values as aids to religious life, and 
by their relations to other truths which also must 
be preserved by men? Theologians speak of 
theology as a science: are they willing to advance 
their science by using the scientific method?" 

After outlining what is meant by the scientific 
method, the same article makes the following 
hypothetical forecast. 

"Let us suppose, for a moment, that theology 
were to adopt and use this method. Theology 
would then be a systematic attempt to co-ordinate 
the facts of man's religious life; to express the 
points of agreement between groups of these 
facts by means of general formulas, in other words 
to find the laws of religious experiences; to try 
the hypotheses which have been made, for the 
purpose of bringing order into sections of religious 
facts, by inquiring how these hypotheses have 
worked; to test the truth of the theories which 
have claimed, and of those which now claim, to 
explain the facts of religious experience, by 
inquiring into their fruitfulness, their vivifying 
influence, their power of bringing the realities 
with which they are concerned into reconcil- 
ing contact with other truths of which human 
intelligence demands the preservation.' ' 

The method here suggested is the outcome of 


a principle of far wider scope than the realm of 
physical science. It is called scientific, simply 
because it has been conspicuously used in the 
practical part of scientific procedure. Prag- 
matic is the word that, in its very modern 
signification, stands for the larger transforming 
principle that is bringing the antagonistic aspects 
of our thought together. I have used the word 
pragmatic and said nothing of pragmatism, because 
it seems to me that the two words may be used 
for effecting a very necessary discrimination. 

If the former is used solely to designate method, 
and the latter solely a system of philosophy, that 
has sprung up as one application of that method, 
much confusion may be avoided. The method, 
which has endless applications, is easily under- 
stood, and is illustrated so abundantly and clearly 
in life that he who runs may read. As Prof. 
William James has said: " There is absolutely 
nothing new in the pragmatic method," but 
"not until our own time has it generalized itself, 
become conscious of a universal mission, pre- 
tended to a conquering destiny." 

Between this method and the derived system 
of philosophy the same writer draws a sharp 
line of demarcation. As a method, it stands for 
no special results, it is rather an attitude of 
orientation. As a system of philosophy, on the 
other hand, it is applied to the working out of a 
"theory of truth." This latter, however ably it 
may be conducted and however useful it may, in 


the long run, prove to be, is an entirely different 
matter: and the failure to note this difference 
has given rise to many damaging misconceptions 
and much unwarrantable prejudice against the 
method. For, in the development of such a phil- 
osophy and in its controversial defence, many 
words and expressions are used that have a 
purely technical significance, and statements are 
sometimes made that, taken out of their contro- 
versial setting, give the impression of opposing 
the very truths they are advocating. 

It is with the method alone that we are con- 
cerned; and we shall hope to make the nature 
of its working understood, not by definitions, but 
by illustrations: for a method that deals with 
concrete ideas can be best explained concretely, 
that is, by the exhibition of its actual working. 
It will, however, be worth while to carry along 
with us and keep continually in sight Professor 
Schiller's Protagorean formula — "man is the 
measure* of all things." It may also be help- 
ful to outline some of the probable results of 
its adoption. 

In the first place, it would necessarily banish 
to the limbo of disused instrumentalities the 
kind of authority that has for centuries held 
sway: — the authority, that is, that takes its 
stand on a unique, divine revelation granted 
to a specially appointed group of men, who act 
as its guardians and interpreters. In the second 

*The analogical and intensive measure. 


place, it would set up another kind of authority 
in the place of that which it deposed : — the 
authority of human experience. Far from de- 
livering theology over to unfettered liberty it 
would simply transfer all its problems to another 
tribunal, — to the tribunal that adjudicates all 
questions that arise in every department of 
science. In it we have a kind of authority 
that can work with liberty, because it is a liv- 
ing, growing and adjustable principle, because it 
takes account of all the new elements that find 
a place in our ever- widening experience; in 
short, because it is of the same elastic nature as 
the liberty with which it has to co-operate. 

It is no less strong for resistance because of its 
expansiveness. It gives, but it does not give 
way. It yields and reconstructs, but it does 
not break and disappear. In the long run it is 
a far more sure reliance, and, in its progress, 

Third, as related to other departments of con- 
structive thought the change would be a very 
radical one. It would put an end to the remote 
separateness of theology, to its superior-cast 
pretentions, and bring it into accord with the 
community of interests that jointly affect the 
welfare of man. It would bring it completely 
under the influence of the method that has 
transformed and is still transforming the outlooks 
of theoretical science; — a transformation that 
makes it possible for theology and science to 


perfectly assimilate their working principles with- 
out the surrender of anything that is vital. 

It is into a very real and comprehensive world 
that this pragmatic method carries us. It calls 
our attention, not to some special phases of reality 
alone, but to every aspect of it. Its theology 
will therefore be one that roots itself in and grows 
strong on every department of human thought 
and activity, that draws inspiration from every 
kind of emotion, that turns its back on nothing, 
despises nothing. It must be a theology that 
studies reverently the deep things of God, not 
alone in the utterances of seers through whom He 
has unmistakably spoken, not alone in the con- 
tributions of science, but also in the common 
wisdom that has been wrought out and com- 
pacted in the upward travail of the race. As 
Maeterlinck has said: — "The thinker continues 
to think justly, only when he does not lose con- 
tact with those who do not think." 

Again, in such a theology, the great creative 
process of the world will be studied as a sacred 
revelation of its Author. Humanity, in learning 
through evolution how it has come to be what 
it is, has entered upon a new phase of self-knowl- 
edge, and upon new outlooks of what lies before 
it. But it is not alone, or most vitally as a matter 
of knowledge, that this affects us: for knowledge, 
standing by itself, is little more than material, 
or instrumentality to be used. It is pre-eminently 


in the power that knowledge generates that the 
hope of the future lies. 

Bergson's conception of the whole great move- 
ment of creation as a struggle upward on the 
part of the creature, an overcoming, a triumphing 
over difficulties, in which every individual has 
an honourable place, an opportunity of contribut- 
ing to the great advancing organization some- 
thing new and precious, is a creative impulse 
in itself. And James' proclamation of " the 
will to believe" translates itself into the will 
and the power to dare and to conquer. 

There is no lack of inspiration in this new 
movement. Like an older evangel, it proclaims, 
— "The kingdom of God is within you." The 
power that works and overcomes through the 
whole realm of nature, it seems to say, works in 
you and with you. Eucken touches a profound 
and most important principle of life when he 
says: — " Spiritual truth cannot attract us unless 
it come before us as our own and not as something 
alien to us. In order to make effective appeal 
it must have its roots in our own nature, and 
subserve the development of this nature."* 

We are made very familiar in these days with 
the word collapse. On this side and on that, 
we are told that it is taking place among the old 
structures that we have inherited and also among 
the new that have been hastily run up as sub- 
stitutes; so that we seem, at times, to be living 

* " The Meaning and Value of Life," p. 88. 


in an atmosphere of demolition, breathing lime- 
dust, and bewildered with the crash of falling 
walls. But, it is possible for most of us to get 
out of this, leaving it to the wreckers whose 
business it is, while we escape to the open places 
of thought where live things are growing. 

But this is anticipating. Our present business 
is to test the theological value of the pragmatic 
method, not to praise it. A change from the 
old method is not to be lightly undertaken : for it 
is not a surface adjustment that we are consider- 
ing. It goes indeed to the very roots of things, 
and our investigation of it must be on the lines 
of experience. What does the past testify as 
to the working in theology and religion of the 
established method? and what measure of suc- 
cess, on the other hand, has attended the working 
of the pragmatic method in the departments of 
human activity to which it has been applied? 



TO say that Protestantism is to-day labour- 
ing on through a stress of great com- 
plications without a method, might, in 
view of all the evidences of continuity and growth 
that we see about us, seem captious. But if one 
were to try to define what that method is, the 
above statement might not seem so very far 


As matter of fact, Protestantism has, from the 
outset of its career, tried to solve the problems 
of religion by the use of a mixed method in which 
two most divergent principles offset each other. 
The Church of Rome had, and still has, a well- 
defined method to which it adheres with great 
rigidity. It hinges upon the assumption of 
special and absolute divine sanction. Its claim 
is that the knowledge of God and of His relations 
to men is a matter confided to a chosen few, who 
are divinely commissioned to communicate and 
administer it to the mass of mankind with abso- 
lute authority. This is an easily understood 
method, strong in its simplicity and its finality. 



It is a method calculated to keep men united and 
to hold them with a grip of iron during periods 
of intellectual stagnation. 

But Protestantism was the child of a great 
intellectual awakening. Liberty of thought, under 
the guidance of the Scriptures of the Old and New 
Testaments, was its underlying motive. The 
privilege of the individual to approach God on 
his own account and to adjust the matters of his 
soul with Him at first hand was the very breath 
of its existence. Clearly, here was a great gain 
to the individual, a great stimulus to his spirit- 
ual and intellectual vitality. But what was to 
become of corporate religion? Was there to be 
no church? no consensus of faith, no unity of doc- 
trine, no authority to withstand the vagaries of the 
individual? The sacred writings, even if held to 
be verbally inspired by God, could not hold men 
together unless some authoritative interpreta- 
tion of them were formulated to be accepted by all. 
So, over against liberty of thought and freedom 
of access to God, the system of doctrine that had 
grown up under the old church was retained, with 
the stamp of divine authority attached to it, as 
heretofore, though somewhat more loosely. 

But at the same time the principle of liberty 
of thought, striking its root deep, grew apace 
and brought forth dissension and sectarianism. 
Both methods were retained; not alone because 
men were habituated to them, but because each 
met, in its way, an ineradicable want of 


their nature; and they adjusted themselves 
now to the one and now to the other, as cir- 
cumstances dictated. The two principles were 
the contradiction of each other; but having been 
once developed and wrought into life, neither 
could be dropped. Corporate religion insisted 
on the retention of the old method. Personal, 
growing religion found the new indispensable. 
Wherever men thought and studied and con- 
fronted the newer aspects of the world, the old 
method was summarily set aside. When the 
guardians of the church thought they saw it about 
to be torn asunder by the influx of new and un- 
assimilable material, they fell back on the authority 
of the past, hoping to stay the tide of change. 

Under this dual regime religion has lived. It 
has to some extent held men together, and within 
the church much growth has been tolerated and 
indirectly encouraged, but not, for the most part, 
officially endorsed. But the weakness engen- 
dered by the continuance of this state of things 
is most evident. Each of the two principles, it 
is true, has met a religious want and, separately, 
they have been serviceable; but their reactions 
upon each other have worked much mischief. 
The schisms created by liberty have been intensi- 
fied and fixed by the principle of final authority; 
for each new form of faith carried with it some- 
thing of the claim to divine sanction. It is 
unnecessary to enlarge upon this; for wherever 
the representatives of Protestant communions 


meet in conclave, the divisions in the church are 
deplored, the wickedness of them is confessed, 
and measures for overcoming them are discussed. 
But the difficulties in the way continue to seem 
insuperable. And so long as the old method 
continues to be recognized, they are insuperable. 

If the particular tenets which divide the dif- 
ferent communions are each and every one held 
to be parts of an order definitely established by 
God, essential constituents of "the faith once 
delivered to the saints," the modification of them 
would be impious. That which bears the stamp 
of a divine command cannot be surrendered. 
Each one is willing and desirous that all the others 
should confess the error of their ways and become 
reconciled to the one and only true faith, which 
is its own. But each of the others can make but 
one reply, "Non possumus." 

If the divisions in the Protestant Church are 
ever to become merged in a common and united 
faith, it must be through the mediation of a 
method differing radically from institutionalism, 
on the one hand, and individualism on the other; 
but at the same time, it must be one that shall 
meet in a legitimate way the two above-mentioned 
necessities of the religious life. It must yield a 
corporate faith that can be always referred to as 
the support and the rectifier of that of the indi- 
vidual, but which is also open to modification 
and growth. It is the belief of the writer that 
the pragmatic method called in the history of 


science the inductive method, can be so applied to 
theology as to meet both these requirements. 


The first thing we have to say about this method 
is that it is, in no sense, new. It is not a doc- 
trinaire method; it is not an impracticable dream; 
it is not revolutionary; it is a method that has 
long been in satisfactory use, has been thoroughly 
tested in a great department of constructive 
thought, has yielded results that men could live 
by and around which they could rally in a united 
support. It is called the inductive method, not 
because it is opposed to, or exclusive of, the deduc- 
tive, but because it abstains from making deduc- 
tions until, by the collocation and classification 
of facts, it has a deposit of reality from which 
to deduce. Thus the word inductive was used to 
distinguish it from that method which assumed 
the grounds from which deductions were to be 
made by a sort of right of eminent domain, em- 
ploying abstractions, the fragmentary products of 
analytic thought, as if they were the fundamental 
and indubitable realities of the world. 

We may say then that the inductive method is 
the progressive building up of truth by inference 
from, and verification through, the actualities of 
experience. Its advocates claim no miraculous 
revelation, they take their stand on no a priori 
assumptions. They make the facts of experience 
their study, and they appeal to facts for the en- 


dorsement of their conclusions. Their attitude 
toward all nature, physical and psychical, is one 
of docility; their attitude toward men is that of 
persuasion. To the employment of this method 
modern science owes all its achievements, and only 
by its constant use, from the first dawnings of 
human intelligence, has our great body of common- 
sense wisdom come to be what it is. 

Our reasons for believing that the faithful em- 
ployment of this method will yield results as 
satisfactory in the realm of religion as in that of 
physical science are, first, that it has in the past 
produced such results. I am not now thinking 
of the cultivation of that branch of our inherited 
theology which is called "natural" and which, 
under most systems of formal theology, has had a 
place assigned it. It has not figured as an im- 
portant factor, it has been as a humble servant in 
the house, capable of throwing light on some of the 
details of its management, but not to be trusted 
in its deeper counsels. It could hardly be other- 
wise, while the assumptions of orthodoxy and the 
facts of the natural world remained hopelessly 
estranged from each other. 

The satisfactory results to which I refer are 
those which to-day constitute the body of our 
reliable assets in religious matters. For the fact 
that the vital elements of our religion have come 
down to us through the ages without loss we have 
to thank this very principle of endorsement and 
conservation by experimental tests. The conven- 


tions and institutions of men have buried them 
deep, at times, in extraneous matter, have dressed 
them up in fantastic clothes, so that they were 
temporarily hidden or transformed, but they have 
been powerless to change them essentially; the gold 
has not rusted, the precious stones have not had 
their fire quenched. These imperishable elemental 
truths were first recognized as such by the instinc- 
tive response of spirit to spirit, and they were 
transmitted from one generation to another by 
the same responses. Human experience from age 
to age endorsed them and approved them as eter- 
nal verities, radically distinguished from all mere 
temporary adjustments to passing conditions. 

But this illustrates only one side of our method's 
working — the conservative. On the other hand 
its progressive, transforming power has been most 
strikingly illustrated during the last half-century 
in the production of what we may call a humanized 
theology. Its distinguishing characteristics have 
been, first, an increased respect for the actualities 
of religious and moral development, and, second, 
the courage to reconstruct theology in reliance 
upon them. The ground assumed, if not explicitly 
stated, is that the realities of a continually widen- 
ing experience constitute an additional revelation 
not inferior in value, or authority, to the revela- 
tions of past ages; and further, that where the 
later revelation conflicts with the earlier, it must 
be given the right of way. The adoption of this 
new standpoint and method has enabled us to 


look through and beyond dogmas that, in the past, 
bounded our vision. It has constrained us to see 
the truths that some of these embodied in such 
different settings and relations that, except for 
labels, we should never recognize them. 

To those not in sympathy with this movement, 
who pass judgment upon it from the outside, it 
may well seem as if the end of all things 
theological were at hand. Diverse and endless 
changes, some of them of the deepest significance, 
have followed one upon another. Some of these 
have been amplifications, some have been atten- 
uations. In a critical age the one class as well 
as the other increases the feeling of instability. 
But, on the other hand, those who are of the new 
order and understand it are hopefully cognizant 
of a process of reintegration, a new and vigorous 
growth, that will make both religion and religious 
doctrine far more potent factors in the lives of 
men than they have hitherto been. 


That this hopeful view is not ill-founded is the 
confident belief of the writer, but it seems equally 
clear that its realization is conditioned upon the 
unequivocal acceptance of the method by the 
use of which it has been generated. As matters 
stand, there is an ambiguity attaching to the 
derivation of our larger constructions which affects 
not only those who judge from the outside, but 
also, most prejudicially, the constructive work 


itself. However well thought out our new creed 
may be, so long as the old claims of authority are, 
in any measure, recognized, we hold it weakly. 
We may reach new statements of doctrine that 
altogether commend themselves to our expanding 
knowledge and to our modern ways of thinking 
and feeling, but the question always arises, On 
what do these rest? Is the fact of their agree- 
ableness to us, or to those in like circumstances, a 
trustworthy evidence of their validity? Or, must 
we regard them simply as makeshifts, adjusted to 
our special wants? This, it seems to me, is a 
consideration that demands our serious attention, 
both for the strengthening of ourselves in the 
courage of our convictions, and also for inspiring 
those who are looking on from the outside with 
respect for them. 

While we have been working toward the formu- 
lation of these larger views, we have lived in the 
conviction that there was some underlying justifi- 
cation for the course we were taking. The first 
steps may have been fraught with anxiety, but, 
as we have gone on, our courage has been re-en- 
forced. We have felt assured that there was 
firm ground under us. The time has come for us 
to define clearly what the nature of this ground 
is, and cutting ourselves loose from other reliance, 
to take our stand squarely on it. To this we are 
not only invited, but, in the interests of survival, 
coerced. Theology cannot exist among the forces 
that influence the world, otherwise. 


I have ventured to say that the time has come, 
not in view of the general principle that " there 
is no time like the present," but because there 
never has been a time like the present. The 
onward movement of thought that has constrained 
us to remodel our theology has been gradually 
transforming some of our most deep-seated con- 
ceptions, thereby making feasible necessary 
changes in our mental adjustments that in other 
days were impossible. Professor Kirksopp Lake 
has recently called attention to the fact that 
human nature will often listen to a reformer who 
wishes to change either the appearance or the 
substance of belief, but not to one who attacks 
both simultaneously: "One generation alters the 
substance, but leaves the appearance; the next 
sees the inconsistency, and changes the appearance 
as well. It takes two generations to complete the 
process, and that is reform; if the attempt is made 
to do both at once, it becomes revolution." * 

The substance of our theology has been chang- 
ing through many generations, but most rapidly 
during the last half-century. The method also 
has been changing, but much less rapidly. The 
inconsistency between the two becomes every 
day more obvious and more embarrassing. The 
times are ripe for the definite adjustment of the 
latter to the former. It is but the consummation 
of a process that is already far advanced. We 

* "Harvard Theological Review," January, 1911, "The Shep- 
herd of Hernias." 


have been gradually weaning our religious beliefs 
from dependence upon miracle and extra-natural 
authority. Whatever view we might take of the 
asserted impossibility of extraordinary events in 
a world governed by law, we have felt that 
there existed a better foundation or derivation for 
spiritual beliefs, than that afforded by historical 
events of the miraculous order. We have there- 
fore quietly transferred our valuables. We have 
found attachments for them in nature, in the 
human nature that we believe to be an emana- 
tion from the Divine. 

But we do not quite give up the old de- 
pendence. Mount Sinai, the miraculous birth of 
Christ, the endorsement by the Holy Ghost at 
the time of His baptism, His Resurrection and 
Ascension, the Pentecostal outpouring of the 
Holy Spirit and so many of the other recorded 
miracles as seem necessary for the conservation 
of the faith we still enshrine and guard as sacred. 
There are, we say, certain ultimate facts of our 
religion which cannot be deduced from the ele- 
ments of human experience, that are quite outside 
its sphere and apparently antagonistic to it. 
Such is the doctrine of the continuity of human 
life beyond the grave, and such also that of the 
new birth. It is the belief of the writer that this 
view of the necessity of extra support is not only 
false, but pernicious; that these doctrines, in the 
light of our increased knowledge, are in no need 


of miraculous endorsement, that they can stand 
alone and develop a far greater strength without 
such endorsement. The reasons for this belief 
will be given in some of the succeeding chapters. 


One of the great obstacles in the way of the 
definite abandonment of the old and the adoption 
of the newer method has been the survival of a 
crude, primitive conception of what constitutes 
stability. In the light of our larger knowledge 
there has been a complete reorganization of this 
conception. Our whole thought of the world has 
been changing from the static to the kinetic. 
Immobility is no longer a synonym for stability. 
We learned, a few centuries ago, that the planet 
on which we live, instead of being, as we had 
hitherto believed, a fixture in space, was travelling 
through it with incredible velocity. And, from 
that time on, one revelation of science after 
another has brought home to us the fact that 
what we call stability, — that which, as related 
to us, is stability, is nothing other than an 
equilibrium of forces. 

To bring the different departments of life and 
thought into harmony with this, has been slow 
work. But, however long it may take, all our 
thought must, soon or late, come to it. And each 
department, when the adjustment is made, ex- 
periences a new birth. Theology must emerge 
from it with a quickened life and a more stable 


faith. But the stability will not be of the kind 
that our ancestors desired. We think in tropes 
and analogies. The stability of the past found 
its analogue in foundations; the rocks and the 
everlasting hills were used as the expression of it. 
Unchangeableness was its essential characteristic. 
To-day our type of stability is an organization of 
harmonized forces that mutually support and 
modify each other. Our future system of doctrines 
will not be a skilfully constructed mosaic, for ever 
repeating the same message in terms of stone, 
but rather a living landscape, which changes 
from day to day, as the spring advances, yet 
without losing its essential characteristics. 

Our corporate faith will be a living organism 
exercising vital functions. It will be nourished 
continually by new material, some of which it 
will assimilate and some of which it will discard. 
Being alive, it will have the power of eliminating 
worn-out, or alien, material that would otherwise 
poison the system. Our inability to do this, 
while harbouring the old superstition of finality 
and inviolability, is manifest; and equally mani- 
fest is the ease with which this function, of elimi- 
nation and rectification works in the scientific 

A large part of our organized science is prac- 
tically established. We do not anticipate any 
essential changes in it. It is sufficiently fixed 
to live by and to work by. But in addition to 
this it has extensive outlying attachments that 


are in all stages of uncertainty. It entertains 
innumerable hypotheses that eventually come to 
nothing. It now and then ventures upon great 
generalizations that, discredited by a wider induc- 
tion, have to be withdrawn. It makes no end of 
mistakes, and it is not afraid of making them, 
because they are not vital, they can be easily 
rectified. It owes all its progress to freedom of 
speculation and experiment. Its cherished results 
are the survivors of a searching ordeal. Its 
motto is " Prove all things, hold fast that which 
is good." 

This, I conceive, is what our reorganized the- 
ology should be. And when it shall have reached 
this stage of development, it will find magnificent 
opportunities open to it. The same onward 
movement that has brought it blindfold, by a way 
that it knew not, will lead it open-eyed into a 
realm of boundless extent and endless activity. 
The way is clear for us to go in and possess this 
promised land; gates have been opened wide where 
we have, till now, imagined only a dead wall. 
The nature that we study to-day is another world 
from that which confronted our ancestors even a 
generation ago. Theirs was a nature out of focus, 
— a nature so misconceived that every specula- 
tive truth gathered from it was to some extent 
an untruth. The inferences from it were not 
all error: they embodied some great elemental 
truths, but these were out of relation to each other. 
Nature told no clear, coherent story. Its testi- 


mony in one direction seemed to invalidate that 
which it gave in another. So far as practical 
relations were concerned, men learned, experi- 
mentally, to adjust themselves to it; but when 
they tried to use the knowledge so acquired for 
excursions into the unknown, they were baffled 
by contradictions. 

To overcome these they invented expedients 
which, though serviceable in some relations, ob- 
structed the way to the larger view. Thus, 
nature was separated into two departments, or 
spheres, of influence; the one embracing its 
uniformities, the other its exceptional events. 
The former were calculable and conceived of 
through the analogy of mechanism; the latter, 
assumed to be incalculable, were conceived through 
the analogy of mind. The former represented the 
idea of permanence and unchangeable order, the 
latter the idea of interference and new departures. 
The conception of continuous movement and 
gradual change had no part in this thought of 
the universe. The phenomena of growth and of 
individual development were, it is true, always in 
evidence, but they were regarded as a mere play 
on the surface, — petty cycles of change that left 
all things as they were. Its conception of impor- 
tant change was that of a more or less violent 
break with an established past, followed by a 
permanently fixed new order. 

To a theology dominated by ruling ideas of 
this kind the discoveries of science were necessarily 


destructive. They subjected it to repeated earth- 
quake shocks, without offering any assistance in 
the way of reconstruction. In the conflict which 
ensued, science, young, active, progressive, had 
every advantage against a theology sheltered 
behind fortifications and unprogressive. The 
whole territory on which it depended for support 
was invaded and ravaged by the enemy. The 
realm of the supernatural was day by day trans- 
formed and added to the realm of the natural. 
Every attempt at reprisal was abortive. The 
established theology, that had for ages ruled the 
world, was more and more hemmed in, depleted, 
and shorn of its prestige. 

But in the onward march of the great process 
it is the unexpected that happens. Speculative 
science, so orderly, so sure of itself and of its 
future, conceived and brought forth a mon- 
strosity. Hitherto all its great principles could 
be expressed in terms of mechanism and mathe- 
matics; but now, from the department of biology, 
there came a generalization far greater, more 
comprehensive, more dominating than any that 
had gone before it. 

Evolution, though the legitimate offspring of 
science, was not in harmony with it. Not only 
did it stand aloof from its formulated principles, 
but it seemed to carry implications that invali- 
dated the most fundamental of them. Until now 
science had met no check for the simple reason 
that it had occupied itself with one aspect of 


nature, that of its instrumentalities. But this 
new generalization, while forcing it to extend its 
domains, at the same time laid upon it the necessity 
of adjusting itself to new conditions. Until now 
science would have nothing to do with the question 
of origins. It contemptuously surrendered this 
to theology and made light of its fanciful con- 
structions. But this great modern, overarching 
principle, of which it was so justly proud, made 
the consideration of origins a necessity. And 
the " Origin of Species" was its first message 
to the world at large. 

The conservators of theology were so taken up 
with the revolutionizing effects of the new doc- 
trine upon its own special interests as to be quite 
unobservant of its disorganizing reactions in the 
camp of science. And even now, half a century 
from its inception, this aspect of the situation is 
not half recognized. Let us look at it for a mo- 
ment, for it will help us to understand the relation 
which this world-transforming principle sustains 
to theology on the one hand and to science on 
the other. 

It is not difficult to perceive that the new light 
that broke upon the scientific world with evolu- 
tion shook the conception of the uniformity of 
nature as severely as this latter had shaken the 
idea of disorderly interference. The task, thence- 
forth, laid upon the rigidly orthodox school of 
science was clear enough. They must prove that 
evolution can be explained satisfactorily from the 


standpoint of physical forces alone, or failing this, 
they must be reduced to holding their dogma of 
pan-mechanism as a very questionable matter of 

There was a distinguished group of scientific 
moderates, if we may so call them, who never 
held the extreme position with regard to the suffi- 
ciency of physical forces. While accepting the 
great fact of evolution as a legitimate outcome 
of the inductive method, they refused to subscribe 
to the denial of anything beyond physical forces. 
The belief in a great intelligence as the cause of 
evolution is quite compatible, they held, with all 
the facts on which that doctrine is founded. This 
attitude of eminent scientists gave great comfort 
to theology. In the midst of all the disarrange- 
ments introduced by evolution there was hope of 
coming to terms with it. But probably no one, 
in the earlier stages of the great controversy, 
dreamed that this new and strange doctrine 
might provide the medium for a theological 
renaissance, that it could furnish the positive, 
constructive principles for a stable and living 

Not at the beginning, but at the end of the 
great effort to prove the sufficiency of physical 
causes, could this aspect of the case appear. The 
history of this effort is of the greatest interest 
and significance. It would be a most valuable 
contribution to modern thought if some one, 
amply equipped, could give a full and impartial 


account of it. In the meantime the general 
trend of it is pretty clearly defined, and in a sub- 
sequent chapter I shall try to outline its most 
salient features and emphasize the important 
deductions that flow from them. But before we 
enter upon this, it seems worth while to pass in 
review some of the general characteristics of 
evolution in its bearing upon religious thought. 



ASSUMING evolution to be true, it is 
a very great truth, — a truth that most 
profoundly affects our views not only 
of what the past of the world has been, but what 
its meaning is and what its future is to be. It is, 
in one sense, the greatest of all the revelations 
that have successively dawned upon the mind of 
man. It is the greatest, that is, in the sense of 
being a whole, all-embracing revelation, and at the 
same time one that is pregnant with possibilities 
of truth yet to be revealed. It is the greatest 
in that it includes all other revelations and im- 
mensely augments their value by giving them 
their proper setting as parts of one great world 

The installation of this great principle has 
been in itself a signal triumph of the inductive 
method guided by analogy. Suggested by the 
phenomena of reproduction and growth, it found 
a place in Greek philosophy five hundred years 
before Christ. Through all the ages it was 
re-suggested and fostered by the ever-recurrent 
miracle of life issuing from the apparently lifeless 



material of the egg. But it held its place only 
as a fancy of the human imagination till the 
growth of modern science, by the convergent 
testimony of its many departments, substantiated 
the dream and gave it a place of honour among 
its well-attested realities. We cannot linger upon 
this most interesting phase of it, for we are 
primarily concerned here, not with how it came 
to be, but with what it is, and especially with 
its claim to our confidence as a guide in the great 
matters of theology and religion. 

The influence of evolution upon theology pre- 
sents itself in a threefold aspect. First, as de- 
structive, second, as transforming, and third, as 
constructive; and the order of this statement is, at 
the same time, the order of their relative impor- 
tance and of the attention which, as three stages 
of development, they have successively received. 

When, half a century ago, evolution was offered 
as an explanation of the world, the destructive 
aspect of it, as regards theology, was about all 
that a considerable element in the church could 
see. Here was an interpretation of things that 
was nothing less than a flat contradiction of 
revealed truth. It seemed to strike at the roots 
of a belief in God as the Creator of the world. 
It assailed that cornerstone of theology — the 
fall and total depravity of man — and, in its ma- 
terialistic form, seemed to extinguish all religion. 


Men forged no end of hastily constructed and 
easily demolished arguments against it, and then, 
in their despair, let it alone. But the more 
patient among them studied and tried to under- 
stand its bearings upon what the religious world 
had hitherto held as truth, and it was seen to 
have many helpful outlooks. Gradually, but 
steadily, the new doctrine found its way into 
every department of thought, making over with- 
out violence some of our fundamental conceptions. 
The destructive aspect began to fade before the 
transforming. Truths that seemed to have dis- 
appeared returned in different guise. We recog- 
nized them as the same old truths, yet not the 
same. They were like wanderers who, having 
gained experience in their absence, come back 
to us with wider outlooks and prophetic eyes. 

The importance of this process cannot easily 
be exaggerated, yet as related to the third stage 
it is distinctly subsidiary and preparatory. Upon 
this third stage, the constructive, we have as yet 
hardly entered. Many have dreamed of its 
possibilities, but for the most part they remain 

The chief concern, both of philosophy and 
theology, is to systemize our knowledge of the 
world, to bring it into such a unified, homogeneous 
scheme of thought that every part of it shall 
support every other part. To achieve such a 
conception of the world and of our position in 
it, is a craving of the mind that will not down. 


Until we reach it, the different aspects of the world 
fight against each other, each one casting doubt 
upon and invalidating the others. Hitherto phil- 
osophy has sought to reach this much-desired 
synthesis by the analytic method. Some funda- 
mental principle, it was hoped, might be dis- 
covered, by the dissection of our knowledge, from 
which to deduce our convictions about the world. 
But neither rest, nor guidance for the human soul, 
has been reached by this dismembering process. 
Laboriously constructed systems have been formu- 
lated, but when these have been brought to the 
test they have, one and all, proved to be misfits. 
They have produced in their constructions only 
one side of reality: now, the reality of the world 
of things as known from the outside, now, that 
of the world of thoughts as seen from within; 
the other side, being logically excluded, was 
necessarily reduced to illusion. 

The persistent recurrence of this failure gradu- 
ally opened the eyes of philosophers to the fact 
that the method itself was at fault, that the prin- 
ciples reached by analysis were not, in any sense, 
realities, but only abstractions, fragments of the 
complex realities of experience, which could pro- 
duce nothing but fragmentary systems bristling 
with antagonisms. 

But, now, evolution laying at the feet of phil- 
osophy and theology an achieved synthesis of real 
knowledge, provides for their use an instrument 
on which they have bestowed no labour. It is not 


indeed the same kind of a synthesis as that sought 
by philosophy. It has nothing to say to the 
antinomies and deadlocks of the abstractionists 
and logicians. It is a real synthesis, — one great 
fact made up of all the facts of the universe. 
In its comprehensive scheme all things are seen 
to be related, parts of each other. There are 
no exceptions to it. It is informed by one spirit, 
harmonized by great laws that govern it through- 
out. It is the disclosure of the methods by which 
the totality of things has come into being, and 
presumably of the methods that will prevail 
in all future development. This synthesis is 
not a theology, but it is the trustworthy frame- 
work for one. We shall make it our chart and 
our guide through the intricacies of the construc- 
tions that we have to formulate, and come back 
to it as the touchstone of our work. 

But, before entering upon this work in detail, 
some statement of the more general aspects of 
evolution, in its bearing upon the conceptions 
and incentives of religion, seems desirable. And 
in the presentation of these I must anticipate 
the argument by assuming, tentatively, that 
evolution reveals to us a Supreme Intelligence 
that is working toward ends of transcendent 


First, as to its bearing upon the idea of reve- 
lation. Our inherited theology assumed that a 


revelation from God to men must be a thing 
foreign to the natural order, — an irruption into 
it. It must be special in its nature and given 
under special and miraculous circumstances. It 
must be vouched for not only by the internal 
testimony of its value, its convincing power, but 
also by supernatural accessories that should give 
it the status of finality and authority. Such a 
revelation, it was held, had been given, once for 
all, committed to writing, and further put into 
the keeping of a consecrated body of men who 
were the only trustworthy interpreters of it. 
But at the same time another, inferior kind of 
revelation, coincident with the order of nature, 
was recognized. The innate moral sense of man 
was the source of such a revelation, and the 
works of God in the midst of which he lived was, 
more or less, its corroboration. 

In the early part of the eighteenth century a 
group of men, who passed into history under the 
name of Deists, conceived the idea of shifting 
religious faith from its old foundation to this" 
latter kind of revelation. Impressed with the 
fact that belief in the former was waning, and 
seeing in this the threatened collapse of all religion, 
they sought to work out from natural sources 
an independent foundation for its essential doc- 
trines. Neither Church nor Scripture, it was 
held, was necessary for a liveable knowledge of 
God, since He was continually declaring Himself 
both in nature and in the consciences of men. 


In so far as they were affirmative the funda- 
mental assumptions of these men were a move 
in the right direction. But their outlook was 
narrow and their negations reacted with disastrous 
consequences. The whole view of the world had 
to be changed before their scheme could have a 
chance of success. The imaginations of men 
were dominated by the conception of a God who 
dwelt apart from the world and manifested Him- 
self in it only at critical intervals and in extraor- 
dinary ways. The innovators themselves were 
only partially emancipated from the spell. They 
shared the limitation of view that accepted the 
oppositions of their day as final and irreducible. 
They could not rise to that higher synthesis that 
sees in such contradictions only one-sided aspects 
of the truth. Because the claim of the Church to 
absolute, exclusive authority seemed to them un- 
founded, they were unable to allow to the body 
of truth which it represented any special value. 

Looked at from the higher point of view, which 
they could not reach, the antagonism between 
what the Deists called human reason and rev- 
elation disappears. They are, at bottom, one. 
They are different workings of the same spirit. 
They are both the outcome of the divine influence 
operating through the faculties of man. They 
are both revelations of God to man, and they 
must work toward the same end. They corrobo- 
rate each other. 

The witness of the human spirit to the reality 


and character of God, uttered centuries ago and 
established in the consciousness of the race by 
the recognition of its truth, bears somewhat the 
same relation to modern thought that the experi- 
ence-bought body of common-sense, by which 
we live, bears to the additional knowledge that 
is every day flowing in upon us. We do not, if 
we are sane, pour contempt upon the organized 
body of our practical beliefs, because they have 
to be modified to adjust them to such additional 
knowledge. Except for the possession of such a 
compacted, articulated consensus of belief we 
should have nothing to make our new knowledge 
intelligible. All our working intelligence is based 
upon a knowledge of relations, and if we have 
no defined, abiding body of practical certainty 
to which our new facts stand in some sort of 
relation, they are devoid of meaning. They 
flow into and out of our ken, leaving no trace 
behind. We may believe that quadrupeds and 
birds see the same things in our common environ- 
ment that we see. But they cannot see these in 
the same way, because of the absence of ante- 
cedent knowledge to which to relate them. 

The body of essential spiritual beliefs that we 
have inherited from the past are, like the con- 
victions of our practical common-sense, part 
and parcel of our lives. They have been tested 
through all the ages and found to work. How- 
ever we may try to ignore them theoretically, or 
explain them away scientifically or logically, 


they are still with us, cropping up in a thousand 
different forms, when we least expect them. We 
cannot get rid of them, because we are essentially 
the same kind of men as those through whom they 
first found utterance. Unless those who first 
put these transcendent beliefs into words and 
those who originally accepted and lived in the 
light of them had been endued with the same 
spiritual instincts, these revelations would have 
been stillborn utterances, the idle sayings of 
unbalanced minds; and unless the generations 
following had continued of like natures, having 
the same religious needs and insights, they would 
have been utterly unable to retain them. The 
divine light that in former days streamed from 
prophets and poets was latent in other human 
souls. The seers called it into activity, and it 
has never ceased to shine, because it is ever 
renewed from the same divine source. 

God has not spoken once or twice, He has not 
made one, or two, or three revelations. He is 
always speaking, always revealing Himself, and 
in every age more fully and clearly. The old 
light is not quenched, but made incomparably 
brighter. The later illuminations disclose con- 
tinually new values in those of a former day. 
The original reception of our inherited spiritual 
beliefs was the response of soul to soul, but it is 
use that has established them, the test of life's 
wear and tear that has made them an insepa- 
rable part of our moral consciousness. 


It is a great mistake to think of the efforts of 
the Deists as altogether failures. They bore 
some good fruit in their time. They not only 
kept men's minds busy with the essentials of 
religion, but they established some of the funda- 
mental positions on which the use of their method 
hinges. They established them so firmly that 
their opponents, the advocates of a special, 
miraculously revealed religion, were constrained 
to use the same method to establish the credibil- 
ity of their position. It was a continuity when 
Bishop Butler, whom Chalmers calls the " Bacon 
of theology," gave to the world his great work 
"The Analogy of Religion." * 

But, as we have implied, a use of the same 
method to-day would move on radically different 
lines and build with much new material. The 
perspective that has been introduced into all our 
views of things by the discovery of evolution is, 
in itself, a great transforming influence, and the 
study of the nature and history of the writings 
that constitute our Bible has also done much to 
sweep away the barrier that separates what the 
older controvertialists held to be two kinds of 
religion, — natural and revealed. With our wider 
outlook, these two diverse sources of religion 
merge into one. There is one great and all-com- 
prehensive revelation, continuous, homogeneous, 
and consistent in its methods, just as there is 
one world-process. We are differently related to 
* Mark Pattison, " Essays and Reviews." 


different parts of it, knowing some from within, 
subjectively, knowing others by observation and 
study from without. We might be tempted to 
say that natural religion has absorbed revealed, 
because its methods must eventually prevail in 
both departments. But a truer expression of the 
change would be to say that all religion is the 
outcome of one continuous world-revelation, and 
that the most luminous part of this is that which 
appeals directly to man's religious consciousness. 

The claim of a supernatural revelation, different 
in kind from all others, had a great truth at the 
heart of it. For, in the race from which our 
religion has come to us, there was an early devel- 
opment of God-consciousness that is unique in 
human history. Individuals sprang from that 
simple and crude civilization who seem to have 
had very little in common with it. Their deep 
and assured visions of spiritual truth, their fervid 
utterances, and their intense convictions were 
like new elements in human evolution. 

But, on the other hand, the seers and the 
prophets were not separated from subsequent 
generations by any radical peculiarity. God 
revealed Himself in the consciousness of these 
great lights of the world by the same methods as 
those by which He reveals Himself in the moral 
and religious consciousness of every man. The 
light that shone in them with such intensity was 
not, in any way, other than that which "lighteth 
every man that cometh into the world." Had it 


been otherwise, how should the world have known 
that these men spoke the truth of God? It is 
because this light dwells in humanity at large, 
not because it is something foreign to its nature 
and beyond its comprehension, that we are able 
to take the revelations that came through these 
men to our hearts and feel sure that we make no 
mistake when we fall down and worship the God 
they have made known to us. 


A second characteristic of evolution, when used 
constructively in the science of theology, is that 
it vitalizes at the same time that it rectifies our 
old beliefs. An inherent source of weakness in 
our established theology has been its apparent 
contradictions, and our efforts to reconcile these, 
without transforming its doctrines, have been 
unavailing. At times it has seemed to have 
become a matter of the survival of the fittest: 
some of them might be retained if others were 
discarded; but again it has looked as if all must 
be rejected and a new beginning made. I think 
we may say that these antagonisms have been 
owing, partly to the narrow outlooks and applica- 
tions of the separate doctrines, partly to. the 
relations in which they have stood to each other, 
but mainly and essentially to the fact that they 
have been produced in an intellectual atmosphere 
of unreality by the use of abstractions. The 
defect in our system is a radical one, and it can 


be overcome by no manipulation of details, but 
only by a change as radical as the fallacy from 
which it springs. 

Evolution offers a deliverance from this reign 
of inconsequence and disorder by providing the 
means for the transference of the whole body of 
our religious truth from a rationalistic to an actu- 
alistic basis. It is not the abrogation of vital 
principles that confronts us, but their restatement, 
readjustment, and derivation from legitimate 
and verifiable sources. Evolution, while trans- 
forming our inherited doctrines, leaves all the 
incentives to religion which they contain not only 
alive, but much more alive than under the old 

It does this, first, by setting our intellectual 
house in order, by giving us coherence and con- 
tinuity in the place of dislocations and inconsist- 
encies. It must do this if we trust to it; for it is 
itself a disclosure of the continuity and coherence 
of all things. The escape from the old intellec- 
tual order into the new is like being brought 
from the dimness of a prison into the broad light 
of day. It may take a little time to accustom 
our eyes to the new conditions. But the light 
was made for the eye and the eye for the light, 
and unless the eye be fatally injured by disuse, 
the light will reveal to it a new heaven and a 
new earth and generate a new courage and a 
new joy in living. With a changed concep- 
tion of the relations which God sustains to His 


world, one doctrine after another, purged of its 
impurities and limitations, falls into place. We 
have a story of the past that is coherent, and a 
look into the future that is, to the last degree, 
inspiring and sustaining. 

What are the chief requirements of a satis- 
factory religion? What do we demand that it 
shall do for us? I will venture, in a comprehen- 
sive way, to answer, We ask that it shall give us 
something worth living for, something that is 
definite, and at the same time not too difficult. 
It must be something hard to achieve, but not 
impossible. It must be an ideal good that 
promises to us progressive realization. It must 
be difficult enough to awaken all our powers and 
ambitions. It must appear sufficiently practicable 
to keep our courage and enthusiasm aglow. It 
must call into action every department of the 
higher nature. The intellect must have its share. 
There must be problems for solution, unexplored 
regions to be opened and developed. The emo- 
tional nature must find in it a full and persistent 
satisfaction. It must not only rouse love and 
loyalty, it must develop, increase, and sustain 
them. It must, in a word, be inexhaustible. 

An adequate religion will be so adapted to 
our human needs that it will minister equally to 
the static, quiescent, contemplative side of our 
nature and to the dynamic, energetic, undertak- 
ing side of it. It is to the bearing of evolution 
upon this latter requirement that I would call 


attention here. It points most unmistakably 
and persistently to a future good to be achieved. 
Great as is the light that it sends back into the 
past, that which it sends streaming into the 
future is a matter of far intenser interest and 
greater value to the human race. In it the past, 
the present, and the future are brought together 
into one homogeneous whole. There is one 
grand progressive movement from the beginning 
to the farthest limits of our imaginations, — one 
theme and one all-sufficient God, who, in a world 
of conflict and through conflict, has carried His 
creation from one stage of achievement to 

This aspect of the situation is fitted to call out 
all that is strong and noble and aspiring within 
us. Here is man with a bewildering wealth of 
powers, natural and acquired, surrounded by an 
accumulation of inherited materials, mental and 
physical, — a superb equipment for the accom- 
plishment of some great end. What shall it be? 
The great world-process, to the knowledge of 
which he has but just come, has an answer ready 
for him. It declares man to be a factor in a not- 
yet-completed process. The process is matter 
of history. The incompleteness is no less so. 
All human experience has testified to it, and the 
insistent reaching out for further realization is a 
continued endorsement of the assumption that 
the accomplishment of the future of evolution 
depends very largely upon man himself. 


Pre-eminent among his powers is that of fore- 
casting the future, so as to be able to shape wisely 
his activities with reference to it. His study of 
the past is mainly valuable as it contributes to 
the enlargement of this power by supplying 
materials for its use. Every step upward in his 
long career has been characterized by an increase 
of this ability to shape his future, and with this 
increase a larger measure of responsibility has 
been laid upon him. With the knowledge of 
evolution there has come a tremendous increase 
of it. Hitherto this power has had reference to 
parts of his life, to his development or achieve- 
ment in this direction or in that. Now, it addresses 
itself to the one supreme issue of the great process 
of which he must believe himself to be the latest 
and highest product and, under God, the most 
important factor. 

Is it possible for us so to forecast this future 
as to attain to a practical, helpful knowledge of 
the direction that further evolution must take? 
I believe this to be not only possible, but also 
the great and necessary work of the present day, 
— a work that we cannot shirk without giving 
away our birthright. We have found many 
uses for our God-given intelligence in the past, 
we have served our smaller interests with it, 
and now that a task of far greater range and 
import has been appointed to us we cannot turn 
aside without dishonour. 

It is rather overwhelming to the imagination, 


this work which evolution lays upon us, and we 
shall not accomplish it in a moment. As in the 
prosecution of the quests of purely physical 
science, we shall probably have to form many 
hypotheses before we reach one which proves 
altogether workable. But, evolution is not an 
inexorably hard taskmaster. Though it provides 
us with a great problem, it at the same time 
supplies new and most helpful conditions for its 
solution. The questions which the old theology 
set itself to answer ranged through the regions of 
infinity and eternity, they concerned themselves 
with the mysteries of ontology. But, if our 
problem is deep and wide, as related to our 
intellects, it is quite within the sphere of human 
knowledge and experience and is propounded to 
us in terms of actuality. We are brought back, 
by a sudden discovery, into a wonted way. 
Our conceptions are called in from wandering 
to and fro through the universe to concen- 
trate themselves upon limited and measurable 

The great process with which we have to do 
presents us not with a universal problem, but 
with one cycle of it. It is a matter of this earth 
with which we are concerned. As in pre-Co- 
pernican days, we may think of our little planet, 
if not as the centre, at least as our centre. We 
may exercise our imaginations and form our 
conjectures as to what great cycles of evolution 
lie beyond and comprehend ours, but these 


speculations are of no vital importance to us. 
The drama of evolution with which we are ac- 
quainted and of which we are a part has had its 
beginnings here on our earth. Here it has 
grown from what, to our apprehension, was 
absolutely without life into the fullness of the 
diversified and organized existence in the midst 
of which we find ourselves. The history of the 
process from inorganic matter, through all the 
ascending stages of existence, is our history. We 
are the highest outcome of it all. The value 
and significance of it is in us and in what we 
are to become. 

The fact that this field has been already 
exploited with unsatisfactory, and sometimes 
deplorable, results should not deter us from fur- 
ther endeavours in the same direction nor damp 
our ardour. We cannot question the proposition 
that a well-founded knowledge of the way that 
future evolution is to take would be an inestima- 
ble benefit to us: the converse of this is equally 
worth emphasizing. A false conception of it is 
a matter of very great, though it may be tempo- 
rary, evil. As the one tends to the achievement 
of the higher life that is to be, so the other tends 
to degeneration. And since it is clear that the 
human mind has reached a point where it will 
not let this subject alone, there is all the more 
need that we bring to bear upon it all our powers 
of criticism and construction. If any man thinks 
he sees a better way of interpreting the indications 


that point to a higher stage of the great process, 
he should give it to the reading public for what it 
is worth. 

In subsequent chapters I shall give my reasons 
for setting aside, as unsatisfactory, the attempts 
that have been made to forecast the future of 
evolution in the line of corporate developments, 
and also that one that traces it in the line of 
physical heredity. As regards corporate develop- 
ments, whether bodied forth in dreams of a 
perfected social order or of a triumphant Church, 
I have no controversy except as they offer 
themselves as the highest outcome in sight, — 
as the ultimate object of inspiration and effort. 
That the social organism has had a great career 
and is destined to have a still greater one cannot 
be questioned, and the same is true of the 
Church. But I shall try to show that both 
are only subsidiary, instrumental, passing phases 
of evolution, and that the highest values of the 
process must be sought in the sphere of the 
individual; in short, that they can be neither 
expressed nor realized except in terms of per- 
sonality and character. 

If it shall appear that this view is well 
founded, if in the course of our argument it 
shall stand approved as the only workable 
hypothesis, the whole volume of evidence as re- 
gards the continuation of the great process 
narrows itself down to some most important 



The first of these to which I will call attention 
has reference to a continuation of life beyond the 
grave for some members of the human race. If 
evolution is to realize itself in the line of human 
personality, such a continuance is a necessary 
element in any hypothetical construction of the 
future. It is impossible to think the facts together 

Could we accept Nietzsche's scheme of future 
evolution, which moves on the line of physical 
heredity, there would be no need to postulate 
such a continuance. Formulated in accordance 
with ideas that have had their rise in the lower 
stages of evolution, this hypothesis culminates 
at a point short of the limits already reached. 
But if, in accord with the cumulative experience 
of the ages, we discern the highest reaches of the 
human soul in those qualities that have always 
been worshipped as the highest, both within the 
confines of Christianity and outside of it, we must 
trace the way that evolution is to take through 
and beyond the barrier that the dissolution of our 
physical organs has erected for the limitation 
of our thought. 

The fact that experience fails to throw light 
upon the forms or conditions of the life beyond 
the grave is no reason for not believing in its 
existence. Evolution is full of transformations 
as startling, as apparently impossible, from the 


standpoint of all that has preceded them. Science 
is continually forced into hypotheses of this nature 
and accepts the situation in the faith that its 
constructions, if not the whole truth, are in the 
direction of truth. In the light of what we know 
of the great process, the belief in life beyond the 
grave for some human souls presents nothing like 
so great difficulties as its opposite; that is, the 
belief that evolution is culminating in such an 
unfinished, inconsequent, abortive product as 
mundane man. To entertain such an hypothesis 
makes man shrink to ignoble proportions and the 
process itself appear as a vast and tragic blun- 
der. Reason, experience, science, and the wis- 
dom of common-sense reject it as an unworkable 

A second inference from the assumption that 
evolution must find its realization in the line of 
personality has reference to the doctrine of the 
new birth. New birth is the commonplace of 
evolution. Life at each of its various stages 
reaches a point beyond which there is no further 
progress except on condition of its realization. 
"Ye must be born again" is over the portal of 
every avenue to the next higher stage. Appar- 
ently, until man is reached, the continuation of 
the process is not in the line of the individual, 
but in that of the genetic order. The new creature 
is not the continuation of the old. The old type 
remains at the lower level and a new type has 
somehow emerged from it. But if, in accordance 


with our hypothesis, the new birth of the human 
era takes place in the sphere of the individual, 
we may see in it the actuality of that transforma- 
tion that is affirmed in our theology, and we may 
not only look forward to a succession of new 
births, but find ourselves in the very midst of 
new-birth realization; those which we know be- 
ing but the earnest of those which are yet in 
the undeveloped future of the process. 

These two doctrines, that of life beyond the 
grave and that of the new birth, march together. 
The great significance of each depends upon its 
union with the other. The value fades from 
either without the assurance of its associate. 
Mere continuance of existence has its question- 
able, not to say forbidding, aspects. Except 
there be the prospect of a persistently improving 
life, a something better to be looked forward to 
with successive realizations that yet never exhaust 
possibilities, the thought of a future life is devoid 
of inspiration; and moreover, the anticipation of 
it is without grounds. 

Now let us observe that these two beliefs are 
associated in several quite distinct relations. In 
the first place they are the two which evolution 
with the whole volume of its cumulative evidence 
endorses. In the second place they are the two 
that stand out as the distinctive doctrines of 
Christianity, marking its advance upon the older 
religion from which it was derived. In the 
third place they are the two that are ordinarily 


instanced as the most conspicuous examples of a 
class of doctrines not given in human experience, 
but dependent for their maintenance upon an 
external revelation, vouched for by extraordinary 
events. In the fourth place they find their 
unmistakable counterparts in the other Oriental 
religions that competed with Christianity for 
the control of the Roman Empire. Mithraism 
and the religion of Isis, offshoots respectively of 
the ancient religions of Persia and Egypt, made 
both these doctrines prominent. 

Out of the many reflections which this combi- 
nation of circumstances is fitted to suggest I will 
call attention to one only; namely, its bearing 
upon the relative evidential value of testimony 
derived, on the one hand, from alleged extraor- 
dinary events of history and, on the other, from 
the main trend of the whole course of history 
as established by scientific methods. In the one 
case, that of the extraordinary event, or events, 
the advance of knowledge and thought is con- 
tinually confronting us with new difficulties, 
loosening the foundations which a former age 
found secure enough. On the other hand we 
hold those vital doctrines with ever-increasing 
strength and efficiency, and the confidence, 
derived from progressive endorsement, inspires 
us at every step. 



THEOLOGY has, for the most part, ob- 
served a studied reticence with regard to 
evolution. When the necessity of frankly 
facing our relations to it has been urged, the cus- 
tomary rejoinder has been: — We are not in a 
position to come to definite terms with this great 
generalization of science, because we do not yet 
know what it is; no satisfactory explanation 
of it has yet been given, and it will be soon 
enough to adjust our inherited beliefs to it 
when such explanations have been reached. 

In opposition to this attitude, I will venture to 
affirm that we know more about evolution than 
we do about most of the generalizations with 
which we have to deal, far more than we do about 
the nebulous realms of infinity in which theo- 
logians of an earlier day found themselves so 
much at home. We know more about it, because 
it deals with real things, actualities that can be 
tested and verified, and because it is the result 
of an immense amount of patient, persistent 
investigation. That we cannot know everything 
about it, is no excuse for not knowing all that it 



is possible to know. Since it has come to stay 
and dominate our thought, our knowledge of it 
should be as clearly defined as the nature of the 
case admits. 

A first and most important step toward the 
understanding of the relations of evolution to 
theology is to clearly discriminate between the 
process itself and its interpretation. Darwinism 
is not evolution. Spencerism is not evolution. 
Each is, in its way, a luminous illustration of it, 
accompanied by and interwoven with an inter- 
pretation. This has been the cause of great 
misapprehension and confusion with regard to 
the doctrine itself, so that the separation of the 
two must be our first task. 

What then is evolution? It is, in its simplest 
statement, the process by which all things have 
come to be what they are. As a doctrine it was 
originally suggested by, and is primarily derived 
from analogy.* It does not admit of demonstra- 
tion other than that of the practical sort. It 
appeals to the intellectual judgment of men by 
the concurrence of several lines of testimony 
emanating from different sources. The original 
statement of the doctrine, as an inference derived 
analogically from a comparison of three series of 

* The extent of this indebtedness to analogy, and the parallel 
which it presents to the derivation of the doctrine of God, is dis- 
cussed in Appendix A. 


organic forms, called the taxonomic, the phylo- 
genetic, and the ontogenetic, was the apparent con- 
tradiction of a number of stubborn facts with 
which the world had long been familiar and re- 
garded as ultimate. Prominent among these was 
the separation of contemporary species by impas- 
sable clefts in the continuity of animal life. The 
first and great work of the advocates of the doc- 
trine was to remove if possible what seemed to 
be a fatal objection to it. This work was pur- 
sued with patience and skill in different depart- 
ments of science, each one bringing some valuable 
contribution to it. The discovery of interme- 
diate forms, hitherto unsuspected, the existence 
of rudimentary organs in the higher animals, the 
close resemblance of the successive embryonic 
stages of a complex organism to the adult forms 
of lower orders — these and other evidences, con- 
tributed by the sober, plodding work of research, 
constituted the distinctly scientific business of 

But in the course of this a number of well- 
defined questions emerged which were answered 
in different ways by different scientists. Some 
of these are as follows. First, Are the changes 
which lead from one species to another always 
gradual, or is evolution characterized by dis- 
tinctly new departures of great significance? 
Second, Are the most efficient factors in the process 
those working from within the organism or those 
which influence and shape it from the outside? 


Third, Does intelligence play any part in the 
process? And if so, is it that of the creature 
alone, or must we assume also the working of a 
higher wisdom, an indwelling and directing power, 
that has shaped the process from the beginning? 

These three questions, though closely connected 
with the main scientific issue, must be sharply 
distinguished from it. They were concerned 
with science only at second hand, they were 
very largely speculative, they had to do with 
causes and origins. They gave rise to very diver- 
gent hypotheses, none of which could be sub- 
stantiated nor, on the other hand, disproved by 
scientific methods. Each was, in its way, an 
attempted explanation, in whole or in part, of 
the doctrine which was now assumed to be true. 
And it is here that theology and the extreme school 
of science join issue. 

Now, because the controversies to which these 
questions have given rise are mainly speculative, 
shall we say they are of small importance, — 
battles in the air, questions that can never be 
satisfactorily answered, and therefore unprofit- 
able? In opposition to such a view I will venture 
to affirm that these questions constitute the most 
vitally important, the most practically valuable 
fruits of evolution. And further, that far from 
being unanswerable questions, they admit of 
solutions in which the mind of the average man 
as well as that of the most highly trained can find 
satisfaction and power. In justification of this 


position I will premise, first, that our ordinary 
idea of science, the one which we have hitherto 
admitted, is far too limited. 

Science is grounded upon facts carefully sifted 
and rigorously interpreted, but this is not the whole 
of it. This is only its basement, above which 
there are upper stories to which we may climb by 
the stairways of analogy, — stairways that we have 
to construct for ourselves and which must be most 
carefully built to enable us to reach the higher 
levels from which we can sweep wider horizons and 
elaborate larger plans for the conduct of life . 

Does this sound visionary? It well may, for 
what is more misleading than analogy? Does it 
not lure us into all sorts of blind alleys and leave 
us to find our way out as best we can? Does it 
not encourage us to attempt stairways where the 
feet stumble as they seek to climb? It surely is 
so. There are analogies and analogies. Some of 
them are, to change the figure, the most shifty, 
inconsequent, misleading guides. Some of them 
are horribly tyrannical when they get the upper 
hand of us. They hoodwink and deceive us; they 
hypnotize us into seeing things with their eyes, 
all the while believing that we are seeing them 
with our own. But, on the other hand, there are 
analogies that are to be trusted. These are the 
only guides beyond immediate experience; we 
never get anywhere without them. We are so 
used to depending upon them that we follow 
them for the most part unconsciously. 


To return now to the various and divergent 
explanations of the causes of evolution; let us 
observe that each one of these, the lame, the 
halt, and the blind, as well as those that move 
with a good degree of success toward the mark, 
is under the guidance and dominating influence 
of some analogy. In what follows I shall try to 
show how it is possible to discriminate between 
the reliable and the unreliable, the true and the 
false, in the use of the analogical method. 

The chief source of error in the employment of 
analogy is to be found in the choice of the analogue 
from which it takes its departure. Our most mis- 
leading analogies are so because they are produced 
from a fragment of reality instead of from the 
largest, most comprehensive whole that we have 
hitherto conceived. The analogy that is derived 
from such an abstracted fragment of knowledge 
may be very satisfying to a mind that concen- 
trates its attention upon this one aspect of reality 
to the exclusion of all else. But as soon as this 
mind returns from the isolation of the depart- 
mental view to the concrete, many-sided world of 
experience, the satisfaction somehow evaporates 
from its constructions. 

In our ordinary conception of the world we 
carry with us a dualistic thought of it. It is made 
up, we say, of mind and matter. There are 
physical, mechanical forces, there are psychical, 
spiritual forces. This discrimination of two de- 
partments serves us both in the practical affairs 


of life and also in the pursuit of scientific research. 
For successful results in the investigation of 
natural, that is to say, physical causes, we must 
isolate these from all those influences which we 
call psychical, just as in studying a machine for 
the understanding of the bearing of its different 
parts on each other we shut out from our con- 
sciousness all reference to the relations which it 
sustains to the mind that made it, or to the intel- 
ligence that runs it, or to the electricity, or steam, 
that supplies it with energy. But, this isolation 
is only provisional, it stands for no independent 
reality. The machine or, on a larger scale, the 
vast aggregate of physical forces that make up 
the world of instrumentality are, in themselves 
considered, only fragments, aspects of greater 
concrete wholes that must be taken into account 
before we can begin to understand their signifi- 

The book which I hold in my hand is, from one 
point of view, a thing complete in itself. But 
in another and much more important sense it is 
not a book at all; it is a combination of paper, 
binding, and printed characters. The real book 
is a purely psychical thing, a message conveyed 
from one mind to another. This seems almost 
too simple to be worth writing about. But it is 
in default of recognizing just this simple truth 
that some of the greatest controversies have 

The conception of the world as purely spiritual 


is without foundation in fact; the conception of 
it as purely mechanical is equally so. In both 
cases it rests upon a deceptive analogy produced 
from a fractional representation of reality, and 
therefore no reality in itself. The traditional con- 
cept of the world as the direct outcome of pure 
thought and will, without the intervention of in- 
strumentalities, had no real experience to rest 
upon. It was the experimentally formed idea of 
creation, with the indispensable conditions of that 
experience shorn off from it. It was a dream, 
a fancy emanating in fairyland. It held men 
through their imaginations, but when it came 
into vigorous contact with realistic thought, it 
faded out of sight. 

But, let us observe, the conception of a world 
created by purely mechanical forces, without 
mind, is not only equally false, but much more 
difficult of assimilation, because the whole idea 
of efficient cause had its origin in the self-con- 
scious action of intelligence and will. But here 
the initial factor in the process has been dropped. 
A world emanating from pure mechanism is not 
simply fanciful, it is monstrous. 

How then shall we reach any trustworthy con- 
ception of the truth with regard to creation? How 
shall we get these two divergent aspects together? 
Shall we say that they are only the two faces of 
one ultimate, underlying reality that is unknown 
to us except through these opposites? To say 
this is only to obscure thought with words. Each 


side in the controversy, if it takes refuge in such 
a formula, sees its side as the reality and the other 
as the illusive appearance. There is another way, 
the simple common-sense way of retracing our 
steps to the point from whence these divergent 
aspects of the real took their rise, and by study- 
ing them both together in their actual, concrete 
relations to each other. 

The mechanical interpretation of the world and 
of evolution has taken its rise in man-made 
machinery. Every mechanical contrivance, before 
it existed as a thing separate from its inventor, 
existed in a different form in his cerebrum. It 
was originally an organization of nerve-cells in 
his brain, and it was organized there by mind. 
Mind is its vital principle. Separated from that 
vital principle it is a dead thing which cannot 
explain itself, much less the universe. How can 
we wonder that a universe interpreted by such a 
mutilation should be found destitute of mind? 
Necessarily, the power that moves it is declared 
to be unknowable, and that, manifestly and 
wholly, because the well-known cause and originat- 
ing principle of mechanism was subtracted from it 
before its application to the greatest of analogical 

When we give ourselves to the investigation of a 
man-made machine, we find it absolutely complete 
in itself. The world of organized physical forces 
can, as we have said, also be studied in separation 
from the thought of mind. In fact it must be so 


studied for the accomplishment of the ends of phys- 
ical science. And for this purpose the employment 
of the concept is not only justifiable but most 
useful. But when, rising to a higher point of 
view, we seek a concept that shall be inclusive of 
those two great realms of reality that stand apart 
from each other in our analytical thought, our 
only chance of success lies in restoring to the con- 
cept mechanism the other vital half of reality 
that we have temporarily neglected. When we 
have grasped these two halves of reality in one 
concept, as in our thought of personality we unite 
soul and body, we have a mechanical universe 
that is instinct with mind: not a machine that 
has emerged out of the absolutely unknown, self- 
sufficing and self-adjusting, but a mechanism alive 
with the thought and potency of its originator. 
It is an established order of things displaying 
great uniformity of action, but it is also a moving, 
growing order. 

We could not have a better illustration and 
verification of the truth of the above principle 
than that afforded by the history of the efforts to 
explain evolution without the recognition of an 
indwelling mind. They have failed most signally 
both from the side of biology and from the side 
of physics. During the last half of the nine- 
teenth century the pan-mechanical view of the 
world scored its greatest triumphs, and also, quite 
aside from the considerations above advanced, 
worked out its own discomfiture. 


I will endeavour to show, in as few words as 
possible, how this came to pass. In physics it 
was the direct result of an apparent demonstra- 
tion of the thesis that man's belief in his own 
mind as the efficient cause of anything is a de- 
lusion. The course of reasoning was something as 
follows. The multiplicity of forces in the midst 
of which we live, — motion, heat, light, electricity, 
chemical affinity, etc., — though they seem to us 
to have no community of nature, are, in fact, 
different forms of one persistent power. They 
have been demonstrated to be different modes of 
motion that are all convertible into each other. 
And further, those other forms of energy that we 
call sensation, emotion, thought, will, are, in no 
wise, of a different nature; they also are trans- 
formable into the above-mentioned modes of 
motion. Now, add to this the consideration that 
the physical power of the universe never suffers 
diminution or increase, and we have before us the 
data upon which the argument for the exclusion 
of mental causation from the world of real things 
is based. It is said to be demonstrated that 
mental phenomena cannot be a result outside the 
physical chain, because, if any portion of the 
stream of energy were diverted from its course 
for the production of mind, that portion would 
disappear and the physical consequents would 
cease to be the equivalents of their physical 

Thus it was made to appear that science ne- 


cessitates the banishment from the universe of 
all such concepts as that of mental causation. 
Herbert Spencer did not hesitate to adopt this 
conclusion and Professor Huxley had no reserves 
with regard to it. He declared that conscious- 
ness had absolutely no power of modifying events. 
"We are," he says, " conscious automata, . . . 
parts of the great series of cause and effect which, 
in unbroken continuity, compose that which is and 
has been and shall be."* And again: "Any one 
who is acquainted with the history of science will 
admit that its progress in all ages, meant and, now 
more than ever, means, the extension of what we 
call matter and causation, and the concomitant 
banishment from all regions of human thought of 
what we call spirit and spontaneity." f 

Now, so long as the denial of spiritual influences 
concerned itself with such matters as the invasion 
of the order of nature by miraculous interpositions, 
or the belief in specific answers to prayer, — 
matters lying quite outside the sphere of verifica- 
tion through unquestioned experiences, — it did 
not accomplish its own undoing. Men deferred 
to it provisionally. Many were ready to sur- 
render the most vital of their religious beliefs to 
it. But when the ever-widening generalizations 
of science, with their categorical inclusions and 
exclusions, brought physicists to the above ulti- 
matum, the vision of an unmodifiable order faded 

* "Science and Culture," pp. 243 and 246. 
t "The Fortnightly Review," February, 1869. 


out of sight. The limit had been reached sud- 
denly, and the argument, so to speak, broke its 

For, when the assumption of the sufficiency and 
all-inclusiveness of physical causation came to 
abut upon personal experience, it was seen to be 
the flat contradiction of the fundamental realities 
of life. Every one of us is daily living the nega- 
tion of that which this assumption affirms. Our 
activities as related both to things and to people 
are the practical, indefeasible demonstration of 
the proposition that efficiency, direction of energy 
toward definite ends, purposive modifications of 
every kind, have their rise, not in mechanism, but 
in mind, — in that very department of reality 
that the physicists declare to be non-existant. 
What we are obliged to live, that we must neces- 
sarily believe. From the standpoint of physics 
or, for that matter, from any standpoint, it is im- 
possible for us to explain how mind gets its hold 
upon and uses its instrumentalities, how it ever 
invents and controls a machine. But in our actual 
experience we know that it does do it. 

Thus, simply by production to its ultimate and 
necessary conclusions, the mechanical theory 
settled itself, and great was the relief to sane 
thinking. It was as when a man is held in the 
grip of a paralysing nightmare. He tries to 
speak, but something prevents; he tries to move, 
but there is no response to his will. The agony 
increases till the point of greatest tension is 


reached; then, as by a supreme shock, the spell 
is broken. The sleeper awakes and assures him- 
self that he is a free man. 

But, thus far, the world of speculative thought 
is no more than half-awake to the importance of 
its emancipation. It is, to theology, a restoration 
of liberty after a depressing period of servitude; 
but the habit of servitude still remains. The 
deadening influence of determinism lingers, and 
the echoes of its paralysing dicta reach us as if 
no revolution in thought had taken place. The 
impossibility of answers to prayer in a world 
governed by law is sometimes affirmed and some- 
times hesitatingly admitted by those who ought, 
by this time, to know better. 

The breaking of the spell assures man that the 
order of nature can be and constantly is modified 
through his initiative; and inseparably linked 
with this, is the assurance that the God of all the 
earth can do as much, — that the order of nature 
can be modified by a supreme mind in touch with 
it. If we go on believing that our requests, our 
prayers to our fellowmen can be answered by re- 
sponsive acts on their part, there is no reason, 
scientific or otherwise, against the belief that a 
higher intelligence may be influenced to aid us in 
the attainment of our desires and legitimate am- 
bitions. As in the one case so in the other, the 
so-called scientific impossibility of modifying the 
routine order of nature by intelligence and will 
has vanished. 



The story of the struggles of the pan-mechanieal 
explanation of evolution in the department of 
biology, though more restricted, is in some respects 
more interesting than that of its fate in the sphere 
of physics. For here we see men, eminent for 
their understanding of the ways of nature, exer- 
cising all their inventive powers to think into the 
process of evolution some kind of a mechanical 
substitute for mind. It was not that the phe- 
nomena of the process itself suggested a mechani- 
cal solution. For when, with the incoming of 
evolution, the vision of a world of routine, run- 
ning its everlasting mechanical round without 
change, had become transformed into that of a 
world of constantly new beginnings and new 
departures, in the interests of an ever-increasing 
organization, the familiar analogies of experience 
suggested, nay, even seemed to necessitate, the 
recognition of a designing intelligence directing 
to some extent the play of natural forces. But 
to all such suggestions a deaf ear was turned at 
the behest of the grand, all-embracing mechanical 
theory. They embodied an easy, popular mode 
of interpretation, but, they must be popular delu- 
sions. They were not scientific. 

Darwin made a marvellously elaborate and bril- 
liant attempt toward the solution of the difficulty, 
but it was not a success. Science was quick to 
discern its deficiencies. On every side there sprang 


up those who recognized the fact that Darwin had 
told but one side of the story. It was clear that, 
while his whole thought and enthusiasm had been 
devoted to tracing the influence of the external 
factors of the process, the all-important agency 
of the internal factors had been minimized almost 
to the vanishing point. The protest against this 
one-sided view took a variety of forms among 
those who were as anxious as Darwin himself to 
explain the process without the recognition of a 
separate guiding intelligence. 

All those processes of the physical world such 
as chemical affinity, organic affinity, crystaliza- 
tion, etc., were exploited. But the sought-for 
factor, which could take the place of intelligence, 
proved to be always just out of reach. Then 
there came a weakening, a disposition to admit 
assistance from the forbidden realm of psychical 
causation — a movement that was quickly ex- 
posed by others who were equally hard pressed 
for a principle that would work. 

Thus Nageli assumed the existence in nature of 
"a law of improvement." According to this law, 
internal causes work continually toward a greater 
complexity and greater perfection of organization. 
He guards this announcement with the assurance 
that his principle is a purely mechanical one, and 
that it is the law of the persistence of motion in 
the field of organic evolution. But of this same 
principle Eimer, who holds as well as Nageli to 
the determining influence of mechanical factors, 


says, " Although he explains it as a mechanico- 
physiological principle, I hold it to be a kind of 
striving toward a goal or teleology, in face of which 
a directing power conceived as personal, existing 
outside material nature and ruling all things, 
would seem to me fully justified."* 

This unavoidable attraction, this compulsion 
as by a necessity of the human mind toward the 
one analogy that can explain evolution, is still 
more interestingly illustrated by that class of 
theorists who so far surrendered to the demand 
for intelligent guidance as to avail themselves of 
it in a modified form. These assume that what 
we behold in organic evolution cannot be explained 
without intelligence or consciousness, but that 
there is no need of postulating a superior being as 
the source of such intelligence, since the creature is 
sufficient unto itself. In this there was a swinging 
back to the conception of Lamarck given to the 
world a century before the " Origin of Species." 
It was outlined by Charles Darwin's grandfather 
in the following terms: "What we call creatures 
were not created by God, for there is no such being 
as we imagine by that name, but by themselves, 
that is, by the process of evolution." 

The difficulty of reaching satisfactory results, 
with the very small outfit of intelligence which 
we may attribute to animals, is manifest. The 
wonders of instinct and progressive organization 
demand for their explanation an intelligence, not 

* Organic Evolution, p. 53. 


of a lower quality than that of man, but one of a 
vastly higher quality. To get round this diffi- 
culty an intelligence different in kind was postu- 
lated. And if different in kind it might, it was 
imagined, be made to cover all the requirements 
of the situation. Thus Mr. J. J. Murphy gave us 
" unconscious intelligence," and Dr. Cope gave 
us " consciousness and memory," but without 
intelligence. Of this latter Dr. Cope says, "We 
are led to the conclusion that evolution is an 
outgrowth of mind and that mind is the parent 
of all living forms." But, he explains, "by 
mind, as the author of the organic world, I 
mean only the two elements, consciousness and 

Why, common-sense asks, should these two 
distinguished investigators and theorists set aside 
the whole and satisfactory analogy of a conscious 
intelligence residing in nature to make use of that 
same analogy in a mutilated form? How does 
the mutilation help them? In no way, except 
that by it they get the service of the concept 
intelligence without committing themselves to the 
implications of it. In a single phrase they com- 
bine the affirmation and the denial of the factor 
which is the mainspring of their explanation of 
the animated world. They get the use of an 
intelligence that is not intelligence, of conscious- 
ness that is not consciousness. That this is 
simply conjuring with a contradiction of terms, a 

* Origin of the Fittest, p. 230. 


mere juggling with words, is made evident by the 
fact that the formula reads just as well one way 
as the other. Unintelligent consciousness works 
the same wonders for Dr. Cope that unconscious 
intelligence works for Mr. Murphy. 

Another exploitation of this idea of unconscious 
intelligence gained at one time a large following 
for the philosophy of Edouard von Hartmann. 
This raised the efficiency so described from the 
realm of the lower animals to that of an all-com- 
prehensive principle. It was said to be an all- 
pervading and universally working constructive 
wisdom, a foreseeing, purposive intelligence in- 
forming the whole process. A most elaborate 
and effective array of the facts necessitating the 
belief in such an indwelling principle is fur- 
nished, and this stands quite apart from the 
assumption that is attached to it; namely, the 
assumption that this wisdom of the All-one is 
unconscious. It is, in fact, theism metamor- 
phosed into pantheism by the affirmation of its 

Here again, common-sense asks, Why is it neces- 
sary or reasonable to mutilate the analogy by which 
alone man can reach a satisfactory explanation of 
the world? It is, in fact, neither necessary nor 
reasonable. It is not the former, because all the 
facts of the world are more truly explained without 
the mutilation. It is not the latter, because the 
very same arguments that prove the necessity of 
postulating the existence of an indwelling wisdom 


oblige us, if we admit their soundness, to assume 
that this same indwelling wisdom is conscious.* 

By an irresistible compulsion the human mind, 
after all its circling round, comes back to the 
analogy of concrete mind as the one and only 
vehicle by which it can reach a satisfactory con- 
ception of the universe. All its attempts to 
pierce the empyrean of thought by the use of 
abstractions have proved as abortive as trying to 
fly with one wing. And for the clearing away of 
the mists which hung over this controversy we are 
deeply indebted to the thoroughness with which 
the biologists as well as the physicists, who 
advocated the opposite view, have pressed 
their claims to ultimate conclusions. But this 
is very far from being the full statement of our 

The same thoroughness of discussion that 
established the necessity of recognizing an intel- 
ligent Creator has, at the same time, increasingly 
revealed and illustrated the relations which He 
sustains to His creature world. Its intimate 
study of purposive action in the animals lower 
on the scale of development than man, has 
brought before us aspects of nature that pro- 
foundly affect our thought of God. For the 
farther we carry research in this direction, the 
more we are impressed with the evidences of 
an intelligence and foresight in actions of the 

* A psychological theory of evolution by a more recent writer 
is considered in Appendix B. 


lower orders of creation which cannot possibly be 
their intelligence. 

The whole of that great class of instincts that 
cannot be attributed to " lapsed-intelligence " or 
habit, all those new departures in progressive 
organization which declare themselves along the 
course of evolution, all the forms that show struc- 
ture in anticipation of function — these as well as 
the phenomena of human consciousness, emphasize 
the fact of a higher intelligence working with 
that of the creature and leading its activities to 
ends of which it could never have dreamed. In 
other words, evolution discloses a world called into 
being, not only by a gradual, but also by a co- 
operative process. Lamarck's idea of the great 
movement was half true. Creatures do make 
themselves. But the ampler truth is stated by 
Charles Kingsley when he says, "We see in evo- 
lution God making things make themeslves." 
And if I mistake not, it is out of this conception, 
as a living root, that the purest and most inde- 
structible form of religion is destined to grow. 

Wide as is the interval which separates man 
from the orders below him, great as is the con- 
trast between his consciousness and theirs, there 
is, in respect of co-operative creation, an unbroken 
continuity. A principle of associated working 
characterizes the whole process and reveals to us 
more clearly than any other the meaning and 
scope of it all. The doctrine of which we have 
heard so much of late, the immanence of God, 


seems, as an applied generalization, perilously 
near to pantheism, but studied and illustrated by 
the facts of evolution, it becomes the vital doctrine 
of a real theology. 

Darwin somewhere says that he found himself 
at times powerfully impelled to recognize the 
agency of an intelligent mind in the wonderful 
adaptations of nature, but was deterred from 
yielding to this because he could not believe that 
some things were designed and others not. But 
such a difficulty disappears in the light of our 
analogy. If we trust ourselves unreservedly to 
our human experience for the interpretation of 
God's working in His world, the appearance of 
design in some relations and its absence in others 
is not only not surprising, but just the combina- 
tion we should expect to find. The great volume 
of our activity, physical and mental, expresses 
itself in routine action, — the almost unconscious 
repetition of habit in response to an approxi- 
mately uniform environment. But this is con- 
tinually varied by departures, on this side and 
on that, occasioned by the necessity of ad- 
justing ourselves to a changed environment 
or for the attainment of some end not, hitherto, 
contemplated. Both kinds of activity are nec- 
essary, the one for stability, and self-preserva- 
tion, the other for growth and rise in the scale 
of being. 

This is just what we find in evolution — a per- 
sistent substratum of uniformity, varied by con- 


tinually new departures. Nor do these new 
departures involve a break in the method. There 
is perfect continuity, but from the standpoint of 
a wider principle. As we ascend the scale of being, 
such qualities as consciousness, foresight, responsi- 
bility, increase. There is more and more liberty, 
a constantly wider field granted to the creature, 
until, in man, we come to a being who is able to 
construct an ideal future and direct the stream 
of his vitality to the attainment of it. But the 
method remains always the same. Everywhere 
it 'is the joint activity of the Creator and his 
creature offspring. Everywhere we see the efforts 
of the latter rewarded by responses from the 

And furthermore, we are indebted to the 
stimulus that has come to the study of biology, 
through evolution, for another help of the greatest 
importance to theology. Even when we restore 
to the concept mechanism its vital half, it remains 
a very imperfect instrument with which to measure 
the relations existing between man and his Maker. 
The quality of externality is a great flaw. It 
continually suggests separation, or only occasional 
communication, which is misleading. 

But the study of cell-life and of the relations 
which the wonderfully varied and complex nervous 
system sustains to the central consciousness of 
the organism, supplies us with a most satisfactory 
symbol of the composite relations of the divine 
and the human. We need no longer think of the 


machine and its maker, two strongly contrasted 
realities that have been vitally connected, but 
are now quite set off from each other. It is one 
living and inseparable organism that we con- 
template, every part of which is alive with the 
same kind of life ; all the members of which sup- 
port each other in a great complexity of relations 
and which find their ultimate meaning in the one 
unit of being, the human ego. 



OUR next inquiry must be, What does 
evolution testify as to the character- 
istics of the supreme, indwelling in- 
telligence which it discloses? To answer this 
truthfully we must try to divest ourselves of all 
assumptions derived from other sources. Our 
method forbids our starting off in the high-handed, 
edict-pronouncing way of the old theology. We 
cannot assume, once for all, that the Supreme 
Being is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. 
Nor, on the other hand, can we affirm the opposite. 
What the absolute truth with regard to these 
attributes may be we can never know, simply 
because we are not omnipotent, omniscient, and 
omnipresent. What we aim at doing is to study 
His works in the realm made known to human 
experience and, in so far as we can organize the 
knowledge so acquired, draw inferences from it. 
Not to cut loose from a priori assumptions 
would be like starting on a voyage without 
weighing anchor, and to those who regard lying 
at anchor as the chief function of theology, our 



proceeding will seem hazardous. But let us 
have patience and not judge this matter too 
hastily. The formal statement of more than one 
principle on which we daily act would shock 
us and, perhaps, call forth a protest. The shock 
is occasioned by the traversing of a conventional 
mode of expressing ourselves. To be asked to 
entertain, even hypothetically, the thought of 
deity without omnipotence will occasion just 
such a shock to some minds; but this is largely 
a matter of language, and in what follows I shall 
try to make clear that there never was a more 
mistaken idea than that which makes the doctrine 
of the omnipotence of God a vital part of our 
religion. We have in reality never held it in any 
other than an obstructive sense. It has been 
like a dumb idol to which we have formally bent 
the knee and then gone on our way leading our 
religious lives, and justifying our belief in God's 
goodness, by the light of conceptions that are the 
practical denial of omnipotence. But our present 
concern is not with the old theology. 

What does evolution teach us with regard to the 
omnipotence of God? There are two quite distinct 
ways of approaching the problem. We may inter- 
rogate the great process as a whole, or we may 
occupy ourselves with the study of details. Let 
us glance first at one and then at the other. 

When we contemplate the overarching princi- 
ples and motives of evolution we experience a 
sense of boundlessness that suggests infinity. 


We find ourselves in a universe filled with God. 
We see Him at every point in the process of the 
ages, working within it, sustaining, controlling, 
vitalizing all its elements, quickening and expand- 
ing it with an ever-renewed initiative as it is 
made to bring forth higher and still higher 
products. In the contemplation of organic life 
there passes before us a grand pageant of creation 
extending through endless forms, from the single 
protoplasmic cell to the greatest and wisest of 
human kind. It is a sublime continuity of 
becoming, of training, of revelation, of creation, 
of salvation of the highest inherent possibilities 
of the process. 

This view of evolution, which is not only a 
legitimate one but also the truest, in that it is 
the most comprehensive, gives us a God Whom 
we can worship, Whose power and wisdom is 
set before us as inexpressibly great, and as one 
Who can be trusted to carry to a successful issue 
that which He has undertaken. We may ex- 
haust all the superlatives of language in address- 
ing Him if we employ them only as the expression 
of exalted feeling. 

But there is another side to it. The moment 
we descend from the survey of the great features 
of the process to the study of detail we are con- 
fronted by aspects of deity that are altogether 
foreign to our traditional conceptions of God. 
Here He discloses Himself as one Who has em- 
ployed, for the accomplishment of His ends, a long 


and elaborate process. His work gives the im- 
pression of one Who moves slowly, tentatively, as 
it were feeling His way, to some dimly foreseen 
end by the use of instrumentalities not thoroughly 
mastered; the process is apparently character- 
ized by many setbacks, by unfulfilled promises, 
roads that seem to have been built a certain way 
and abandoned. Although, viewed as a whole, the 
process is seen to be a grand and ever-expanding 
movement upward on the scale of being, there 
is also an immense amount of destruction and 
incidental waste; there is much conflict and much 
suffering on the part of creatures so constituted 
as to be capable of great happiness. In short, 
the God of evolution appears to be one Who, like 
ourselves, is beset with limitations over which He 
triumphs by the use of infinitely varied appliances 
and adjustments. 

To treat these first judgments as the adequate 
expression of the truth would, of course, be pre- 
posterous. In any complicated system of things 
the power manifested at any given point, or at 
a great number of points, by a controlling agent 
is no index of the amount of power available. 
Every factor in such a system limits all the others. 
To estimate the amount of ability behind it we 
must know not only what the ultimate purpose of 
the system is, but also all the subsidiary interests 
involved. To avoid being swamped by details 
it is necessary that we hold fast to the thought 
of the system as a whole. 


But, on the other hand, the implications that 
we have been considering have their significance, 
and it is one that profoundly affects the issues 
of constructive thought. For one thing, it is the 
endorsement, on a large scale, of the analogical 
method of seeking truth. In evolution He Whom 
we call the Almighty has revealed Himself through- 
out nature as a being Whom we can progressively 
interpret by the study of our own methods and 
experiences. Evolution invites us, nay, com- 
mands us, to come and learn from it, as from 
an open book, of the God Whom we have been 
taught to regard as incomprehensible. The idea 
of infinity has kept us at a distance from Him, 
has held us in leash, as it were, from studying 
Him as He is revealed in nature and throughout 
the whole realm of our human experience. 

It has told us nothing whatever about Him, 
but only what He is not. It has been a great and 
all-comprehensive denial of the community of 
our nature and His, a destructive blight upon the 
natural growth of our minds toward Him. We 
are finite, He is infinite. Our thought, limited 
in every direction, is necessarily the antithesis of 
His unlimited, all-comprehensive thought. His 
emotions, if He has any, are the emotions of 
one Who is an absolute stranger to all opposition, 
Who has never known the tug or the joy of over- 
coming, Who has never experienced the enthu- 
siasm of pursuit, the long-drawn-out pleasure of 
gradual approach through difficulties to the 


attainment of an object or condition earnestly 
desired. He has never, and never can, experience 
the delight of the onrush of a new thought or the 
dawning and growth of a new faculty. In a word 
we have, in our short-sightedness, while thinking 
to honour Him with high-sounding titles, only 
crowned Him with emptiness and vacuity. While 
declaring Him unlimited we have, from the 
standpoint of our knowledge, made Him the abso- 
lutely limited one. For, so far as His infinity is 
concerned, He is to us a meaningless blank. 

It is indeed true that the same theology that 
erected these barriers of thought has also ad- 
mitted the frank and wholesome anthropomor- 
phism of the old Hebrew religion, which has come 
down to us emphasized by the cult of Christianity. 
These two have lived along together, with the 
result that the worship of the God-man has 
almost entirely overshadowed that of God the 
Father, the creator of the world, and the God of 
nature. Necessarily, for He of the infinite attri- 
butes furnished no food to satisfy the religious 
cravings of his would-be worshippers. We have 
been able to live under this mixed regime, but 
only a cramped and stunted intellectual growth 
was possible. From the one and only outlet for 
the human mind in constructive thought, the 
gateway of analogy, we were logically debarred. 
Whenever we have set ourselves down hoping to 
figure out on our little slates the problems set 
for us by the great educator, theology with its 


wet sponge of infinity has obliterated all our 
work and left us staring at vacuity. 

It is just the reverse with evolution. Here we 
find ourselves in an atmosphere of encourage- 
ment. Our analogical efforts are approved. At 
every stage of the work we receive new and help- 
ful suggestions for its continuance. Our prob- 
lems, it is true, are ever expanding before us 
with innumerable outlooks. We shall never get 
to the end of them, but we feel increasingly that 
we are on the right track. 

Is it the problem of God's power in creation? 
We are intimately acquainted with ourselves as 
creators, as bringing into existence a little world 
by the use of instrumentalities. By these in- 
strumentalities we are, at the same time, aided 
and limited. We are absolutely dependent upon 
them, we can do nothing without them; they, 
in one sense, control us. At the same time we 
make them forward our plans, bend them to our 
purposes, lead them into special channels, over- 
rule them in the interests of the individual and 
of society. So doing, we accomplish great things, 
but these great things are characterized by great 
imperfections. The responsibility for some of 
these imperfections rests upon us, but for a very 
much larger class it is justly laid upon the nature 
of things. We are limited not only by our very 
imperfect knowledge of the possibilities of things, 
we are limited also by those possibilities them- 
selves. And when we look at the world of man's 


achievement, with its wonderful extent and 
variety, our amazement is called forth not because 
he has accomplished so little, but, on the contrary, 
because, with all his limitations and in spite of 
the seeming rigidity and obduracy of the materials 
with which he has had to work, he has accom- 
plished so much and gives promise of accomplish- 
ing so much more. 

Just so, from the standpoint of this analogy, 
our minds should be filled with amazement be- 
cause of what the world is and what it promises 
to be, rather than with criticism because it 
falls short of some ideal condition of things 
that we should like to substitute for it. If we 
once admit the thought that He who created the 
world, as we know it, laboured under limitations 
of some kind analogous to those which we have 
to meet and triumph over, we are ready to wor- 
ship rather than to find fault. Remembering 
our own tribulations and triumphs, our hearts 
go out in sympathy and thankfulness for what 
has been hitherto and for that which shall be. 

Shorn of the word omnipotence, the idea of God 
becomes something less awe-inspiring, perhaps, 
less mysterious, less removed from us and all our 
possibilities, but, on the other hand, it becomes 
something more real, more intelligibly worship- 
ful, infinitely more moral and love-inspiring. He 
appears as one Who shares the battle with us, 
"Who counts on us as supporters in the world- 
process. Omnipotence divided Him, as by an 


unfathomable gulf, from us. We worshipped we 
knew not what, a being of inconceivable attri- 
butes. The God of evolution is, on the con- 
trary, one Whom we can measurably understand, 
one with Whom we can live in sympathy. He 
is one to love and to work for. Our devotion to 
Him is not a mere fleeting incense, it is a pos- 
itive factor in a world-not-yet-finished, in a pro- 
cess which may be advanced, or hindered, by the 
way in which we lead our lives. What we should 
most earnestly desire is not the absolute con- 
fidence of a foregone conclusion, but an uncon- 
querable faith, a faith that is synonymous with 
devotion, courage, loyalty. 

The writer is not forgetful of the other side of 
this view of things, and that there are those who 
are so constituted, temperamentally, that they 
will be able to see in the erasure of the word 
omnipotent nothing short of the annihilation of 
our belief in a God of supreme power and majesty. 
It is so easy for some of us to plunge from one 
extreme to another that the only alternative to 
the imputation of this impossible attribute is to 
think of God as one Who is in all respects limited 
and fallible. But, as matter of fact, all that 
evolution does, as regards this divine character- 
istic, is to take that which has always been our 
working belief under its transforming influence 
and give it back to us purged of its negativeness 
and re-enforced with the vitality of a positive 


I say our working belief; for always, as related 
to the other doctrines of our faith, we have 
employed a conception of God that involves 
limitation. We could not do otherwise; for it 
was impossible to eliminate the idea of a condi- 
tioned being without at the same time eliminating 
the idea of personality. And with the belief in 
personality gone, the bottom drops out of our 
constructive thought. Our inherited theology 
had a semblance of coherence only because, in 
violation of its assumptions with regard to in- 
finity, it admitted personality. And those who 
see in the frank admission of the issue which 
evolution forces upon us the annihilation of our 
belief in a God of power and inexpressible majesty 
may comfort themselves with the reflection that 
this ennobling belief has somehow managed to live 
through the ages linked with the belief in His 

The great and central doctrine of the Atone- 
ment most distinctly represents the Almighty as 
inexorably hedged in by a necessity, in the nature 
of things, involving a sacrifice at which, in Milton's 
words, " all heaven stood aghast.' ' And in the 
same connection, God the Father is represented 
as explaining Himself to the angels with regard 
to the status of fallible man by adducing the 
limitations that obliged Him to create this being, 
made in His own image, with just the amount 
of freedom and weakness that resulted in his 


More emphatically still does our traditional 
theology display this inconsistency in its account 
of the entrance of moral evil into the world. 
The Creator planned, called into existence, and 
launched on its course what He pronounced to 
be a perfect world. But somehow there were 
flaws in this plan that escaped His omniscience, 
and so there came to pass a great breakdown in 
its working. It failed utterly just in that part 
on which he had set His heart. According to 
our theology, man was created a perfect being; 
he was the head of creation; he walked with God 
and was loved and approved by Him. But lo! 
a great catastrophe. Sin entered, and all the 
fair promise of his incipient career was blighted. 
With his failure everything else went wrong. 
The very ground was cursed for his sake, and the 
harmony that characterized the original scheme 
of things became discord. 

In this narrative, the multitude of failures 
apparent in evolution are gathered into one. 
But does this help matters? From the rational 
point of view by which we are testing the new 
revelation, the one great breakdown, the terrible 
centre-shaking catastrophe, for the most part 
irretrievable, presents an incalculably greater ob- 
stacle to faith in the ability of the Creator to 
carry out His plans than the innumerable instances 
of seeming failure that appear all along the course 
of the great process. These, by comparison, are 
things of minor significance and not difficult to 


deal with; for they are each one embedded in a 
vast system of things, a system which we now 
recognize as a process of the ages, of which we 
can see but a little part, but enough to be certain 
that it is no mere play of blind forces. It is a 
continued progress, in which we can see apparent 
mistakes eliminated, apparent failures redeemed 
by success in other directions, in which destruction 
is often shown to be the removal of hindrances, 
and in which the circuitous course leads to the 
goal. There is no permanent setback in its 
whole history. There is no discovery of a break 
in the plan, no change of policy. It is, as a 
whole, one grand continuity of becoming, one 
long, consistent story of successive triumphs 
pointing still onward to we know not what great 

Again, our inherited theology recognized the 
idea of a rebellious element, adopted perhaps from 
the Persian religion, with which the Hebrew was, 
at one time, in such close contact. God, though 
omnipotent, tolerated for some reason the Devil 
and his angels, and they held a conspicuous and 
often tragically real place in the thought and lives 
of our not-remote ancestors. This was a relief 
to those who did not look beyond the surface of 
the problem of evil. But for those who did, it 
was the opposite of reassuring; for the doctrine 
of omnipotence fastened the responsibility for 
the unchecked activity of the Devil and his 
angels on the one God Whom they, at the same 


time, wished to worship as a God of love. In 
other words, the idea of God as limited was 
implicit in the idea of God as benevolent, as well 
as in the idea of God as a person. And practi- 
cally we have always thought of the divine agency 
as characterized by an associated freedom and 
determinism similar to that which we find in 
human agency. 

Before leaving this part of the subject I will 
venture to call attention to the finality with 
which our deductions from evolution drive into 
outer darkness two bogies that have tyrannized 
over constructive thinking. One of these is 
known as "the relativity of human thought," the 
other as " anthropomorphism." Not that there 
have been lacking minds sufficiently sturdy to 
set them at naught, but that they have been 
used, now and again, with great success in turning 
the average thinker away from the legitimate 
avenues of progressive knowledge and into the 
barren by-ways of scepticism. 

It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to say that I 
am not questioning the fact of the relativity of 
human thought. Kant's position that man can 
know, directly, no more of the nature of things 
than his own mode of perceiving them, which is 
peculiar to himself, is not only sound, but one 
which is illustrated to us every day of our lives, 
both in our intercourse with other human beings 
and in our relations to the animals farther removed 
from us by differences of organization. But, on 


the other hand, it is equally true, and a matter 
of far more vital interest to us, that our mode of 
perceiving things, peculiar as it is to each one of 
us, is, analogically, a trustworthy guide to the 
interpretation of minds differing in important 
respects from ours. The farther removed any 
two persons are, by birth, training, or tempera- 
ment, the more likely they are to make mistakes 
in their efforts to comprehend each other, but in 
virtue of their common humanity they are able 
to arrive at a fairly reliable understanding. It is 
the same in our relations to the lower animals. 

These considerations are, on general principles, 
a sufficient answer to the assumption of sceptical 
thinkers that we are for ever debarred from any 
knowledge of a being who transcends our immedi- 
ate experience, because of the relativity of our 
human thought. 

Even before the facts of evolution were made 
known we were in a position to say that there 
probably exists in the world a being possessed of 
an intelligence and a creative power far exceeding 
ours, and furthermore, that this being probably 
works, as we are obliged to work, under limita- 
tions of some sort. This was a legitimate and 
justifiable hypothesis, depending for its verifica- 
tion upon its practical working in our lives, 
and awaiting endorsement or the reverse, in the 
testimony of our subsequent experience. With 
evolution that endorsement has come. Our hypo- 
thetical construction has been justified. What 


we prophesied ought, in conformity to known 
principles, to be discovered, has been discovered. 
Some of the methods by which our postulated 
Supreme Being works have been disclosed, and 
they are, on a vast scale, the corroboration of our 
analogically formed hypothesis. 

The obstructive claims of the relativity of 
human thought, therefore, have received a refu- 
tation not of words, but of facts. The question 
as to our ability to transcend experience is no 
longer a living issue. We have transcended it. 
And let it be observed that evolution has thus 
become, not only an emphatic endorsement of our 
postulated Creator, but an endorsement of the 
method of analogy as a whole. 

The same considerations apply to the word 
anthropomorphism. It has been a byword and 
a hissing, a name to conjure with, not because 
there is anything ridiculous about the attempt 
to conceive the personality of the God Who is 
in touch with us, by the use of humanly derived 
analogies, but solely, because we have tried to 
do this while insisting upon the infinite attributes 
of the same God. The cherishing of these time- 
honoured claims invalidated our right to the use 
of analogy and at the same time made us the 
prey of our opponents. Our teachers and our 
preachers, the representatives of a God of infinity, 
have, unwarrantably, taken the liberty to apply 
the analogies of our experience to the explication 
of the God Who works in the world of nature. 


They could not do otherwise if they identified 
Him with the God of the Hebrew religion, or if 
they made Him in any way intelligible. 

But, judged by the assumptions of their 
theology, they were trespassing; they had no 
rights in this analogical realm. And there 
were those who were not slow to raise the 
hue and cry against them. The illegitimacy of 
their proceeding was flagrant. A God infinite 
in all His attributes, the antithesis of man in 
every essential, and yet one Who was to be appre- 
hended through analogies derived from this same 
finite man! The scientific and logical inad- 
missibility of such a conjunction of ideas was 
easily made to appear. They were told that 
their reasoning was puerile and preposterous, 
they were accused of that most dreadful thing, 
anthropomorphism. Nor was it possible to shake 
off their tormentors without either surrendering 
the most vital thing in their constructions, that 
is, analogically derived conceptions, or, on the 
other hand, their old cherished metaphysical 

Let them adopt the latter course and the 
vigour of a new life characterizes their mental 
processes; not that alone which is born of con- 
sistency, the straightening out of an old thought 
that has been sorely tangled, but, in addition, 
the quickening of every pulse of thought by the 
incoming of the new vision, the enlargement and 
liberty that accompanies the far-away view where, 

£? f : 


hitherto, all has been enveloped in the fogs of 
abstract ideas. 

Since God is known to be one Who works by 
methods that may be likened to ours, every experi- 
ence of ours, every problem solved, every difficulty 
against which we contend throws some light upon 
the meaning of the way which He takes. His 
problems are our problems. His good is our good. 
His evil is our evil. He is engaged in overcoming 
as we are engaged in overcoming. We are one 
with Him, not simply in a mystical or meta- 
physical sense, but really and practically, in that 
His interests are our interests. The realization 
of the highest possibilities of our individual lives 
is, so far forth, the realization of the great world- 
process. We are involved in it, a part of it. To 
each one of us is intrusted a definite work to 
accomplish in the onward march of the world's 
becoming. Hence all our progressive knowledge 
of nature and of human nature, all that we dis- 
cover as to what is possible, desirable, expedient, or 
necessary in our social relations, contributes in- 
directly to our knowledge of God and becomes 
valuable material for our theological constructions. 

Without misgivings as to the legitimacy of 
our procedure we can advance in the full and 
joyful courage of our convictions. The order of 
nature bids us go on. The continuity of the 
method that has characterized the world-process 
hitherto, assures us that we are on the right track 
and walking in the light when we try to trace 


God's purposes and ways as the reflection of our 
own dearly bought experience. If we are faithful 
in our adherence to this method, whole realms of 
reality will become subject to our thought that 
have hitherto been the wild haunts of untamable 



WE have seen that if, in obedience to the 
facts of evolution, we surrender the 
time-honoured assumptions of theol- 
ogy with regard to the infinite attributes of God, 
our losses are offset by a gain of inestimable 
value; namely, the setting of our intellectual 
house in order and the emancipation of our 
reasoning faculties. 

When now we go on to ask of evolution what it 
has to teach us with regard to the doctrine of 
God's benevolence, it will be manifest that we 
have only begun to recognize the value of the 
freedom that has been secured to us by the dis- 
missal of these abstractions. So long as we re- 
mained subject to them we were harnessed to an 
absolutely unworkable doctrine of the benevo- 
lence of God. The problem of evil, as it is called, 
owes its gravity almost wholly to the assertion of 
God's omnipotence. It is the fulcrum of the 
argumentative lever that, from a rational point 



of view, has proved irresistible against any and 
every attempt to formulate a defence of the 
doctrine that lies at the heart of our religion. 
We have not only made no progress toward the 
solution of this problem of evil, but, in these 
later days, the situation has been aggravated by 
the light which evolution has thrown upon the 
methods through which the world has come to 
be what it is. 

We have, it is true, tried to formulate tentative 
explanations of the dreadful happenings of the 
world. When some great misfortune has befallen 
us, or our friends, or the community in which we 
live, when the long-drawn-out tragedies of wast- 
ing illness, of droughts and floods, of famine and 
forest fires have appalled us, when an earthquake 
has laid a great city in ruins, killing and maiming 
thousands of men, women, and children and 
entailing wretchedness upon thousands more who 
have lost their all, we have tried, perhaps, to meet 
the situation manfully. We have summoned 
visions of the other side of the picture, making 
this and that hypothesis to explain why for our 
good, or for that of the world, it might be a moral 
necessity that we and it should be subjected to 
such tragedies. Or, we have said, it is all the out- 
come of the order of nature, an order that had to 
be and that produces much more good than evil in 
the world. But, however cogent our reasonings 
may have been, they have, anon, dashed them- 
selves into spray against the infinite attributes of 


God that have suddenly loomed before us. Is not 
the Omnipotent One also the author of nature? 
Did He not foresee these and all the other horrible 
things that would necessarily flow from it? And 
why did He not, if omnipotent, establish an order 
free from such dreadfulness? 

Only two answers are possible, one of which is 
no answer, but a rebuke. It may be said this is 
God's secret, we cannot understand it, it is rebellion 
to try to understand it. Or, on the other hand, 
we may entertain the hypothesis that the omnipo- 
tence of God is not quite so absolute as we have 
imagined it to be. There may be, we hesitatingly 
admit, limitations in the nature of things which 
oblige the Supreme Intelligence and Will of the 
world not, as some would put it, to do evil that 
good might come, but to choose the least of two 
evils: on the one hand, a world without life, or, 
on the other, a world with life and incidental evil. 
This, as we have seen, is also the conclusion forced 
upon us by God's revelation of His methods in 
evolution, and no sooner do we let go our hold 
on our inherited predispositions and embrace 
frankly the implications of nature than the spell 
is broken. 

A ray of light penetrates the darkness of our 
theological cave and, if we follow it up, it will 
bring us out into daylight. This one little perhaps 
is enough to begin with. It makes all the differ- 
ence between no light at all and the knowledge 
that there exists a realm of light and that we, 


moreover, know the direction in which it lies. 
Furnished with this, all our constructive powers 
are quickened. We have a well-defined goal of 
religious thought to strive for, an occupation for 
every one of our highest faculties, and the means 
for the prosecution of our work flow in upon us 
the moment we concentrate our attention on its 
achievement. All our discarded arguments for 
the possible benevolence of God reformulate 
themselves and take on the hue of health and 
vigour. We have every reason now to foster and 
encourage them. We feel instinctively that the 
life pulsating in them is but the feeble outlying 
manifestation of a larger, fuller knowledge that 
may be ours. A host of considerations rally to 
our assistance. 

Having set up the hypothesis that there is 
some inherent opposition in the nature of things 
that has to be overcome in the interests of the 
best possible world, and believing that it is legiti 
mate to assume that the conditions which Limit 
the Supreme Intelligence are, in some measure, 
similar to those which we have to encounter, we 
have an inspiring work cut out for us. And the 
first effect of this change of attitude is to turn 
the criticism that we have been directing against 
the Creator upon ourselves. 

What has been the ground of that criticism? 
We can have no ground whatever for fault- 
finding unless we have thought out some better 
plan for conducting the world than the one which 


we find in operation. We know much about the 
nature of things and the antagonistic behaviour 
of the forces with which we have had to deal, and 
we remind ourselves of the unwearied patience 
and persistence against repeated failures that have 
characterized the achievements of our race; and 
looking back over its career, we apply tentatively 
the analogies of this human experience to the 
explication of the methods of evolution. What 
do we find? 

Can we, from what we have learned of the 
nature of things, point out how animated nature 
could have been constructed so as to have secured 
all the good results embodied in it without the 
stimulations and restraints that each creature 
finds in its environment? 

All the exuberant life and joyfulness of the 
animated world have come into being not in 
spite of the adverse influences and obstacles that 
every species has to encounter, but directly 
because of those conditions. The difficulty of 
finding food, the alertness and activity that are 
required every day in the avoidance or thwart- 
ing oi hostile influences, the battles that have to 
be fought, and the sharpening of its wits in conse- 
quence — all these are the very cause and source 
of the exuberant happiness that characterizes 
nature through its length and breadth. 

There is also, it is true, defeat and suffering; 
forfeits have to be paid all along the course. But 
death comes to all soon or late, and would it be 


an improvement that every creature should be 
able to live out its life to the bitter end, dying 
by inches of old age and nothing to do, rather 
than by a short stroke when life is at its full tide? 
The evolution that we know has a very beneficent 
side to it. It has everywhere provided for the 
emergence of those conscious states that are the 
source of joy in all living things: the sense of 
movement, of progress, the sense of achievement, 
the sense of triumph over difficulties, the joy of 
love in the time of mating, of nest-building, of 
producing and rearing and defending progeny. 
Why should we doubt that every animal feels a 
joy in the unfolding of its faculties, akin to that 
which we feel in our more self-conscious realiza- 
tions of growing personality. 

From the earliest stages of organic life onward 
the dynamic of progress seems inseparably bound 
up with the struggle for existence. Effort on the 
part of the creature supplies the occasion for the 
expansion of the organism and the increase of 
faculty. It is impossible for us to imagine how 
the higher values of life could have been reached 

Again, it is inconceivable that there could have 
existed any organized creation, good or bad, 
without that uniformity which we call the fixed 
order of nature. In its absence we can think only 
of chaos. And yet this uniformity is seen to be 
a principle not of unmixed good, but one involving 
at times much incidental evil. How many neces- 


sities of this kind there may be, or how far-reaching 
they are we cannot know. But, an increasing 
knowledge of them is sure to be ours if we are on 
the watch to discern them. The discovery of 
evolution has revealed to us the interdependence 
of the whole scheme of things as we never knew 
it before, and it has illustrated this with a wealth 
and variety of facts that should immensely broaden 
our estimate of the multiplicity and the complexity 
of the ends that must be taken into account if we 
try to explain its meaning. 

We have, as it were, broken into the labora- 
tory of the Great Artificer and made ourselves 
free to investigate His hitherto secret methods. 
But, in the presence of these wonders, it be- 
hoves us to conduct ourselves with a good 
degree of modesty, to remember that it is not 
by the incompleteness that appears in the work- 
shop, not by the multitude of things we find 
there, of which we cannot discern the use, that 
the process or its Author is to be judged. Unless 
we assume that we have the same grasp of the 
situation that He has, and feel that we are able 
to give Him points as to a shorter and better way 
of doing things, it is at least foolish for us to draw 
hasty inferences about His ability from these 
fragments of His work. 

We can never hope to get more than glimpses 
on this side and on that of the maze of subsidiary 
ends that He contemplates in their entirety, but 
those glimpses may be moral tonics of great value. 


Innumerable instances might be adduced; I will 
mention only one. 

In that familiar and classic expression of distress 
that occurs in the fifty-fourth canto of "In Memo- 
riam," the poet dwells with painful interest on the 
mysterious fact that nature, after maturing fifty 
seeds, often brings but one to bear, and the dread- 
fulness of this and other enigmas provokes that 
cry of a wounded faith : 

I falter where I firmly trod, 

And, falling with my weight of cares 
Upon the great world's altar stairs 

That slope through darkness up to God, 

I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope, 
And gather dust and chaff, and call 
To what I feel is Lord of all, 

And faintly trust the larger hope. 

But, if for a moment we call to mind the fact 
that one of the greatest industries of the world is 
the production of thousands upon thousands of 
seeds, for man's food, for every single seed that 
is used for reproduction, does it not seem needless 
for us to blacken our souls and begin to lose our 
faith in God because we find that of fifty seeds 
He often brings but one to bear? When we 
reflect upon the variety of the tribes that God 
has called into the world for His own pleasure 
and for theirs, and of the never-ending necessities 
of that world, ought we not to be consoled for the 
forty-nine seeds that fail to germinate? Some 


of them have gone to enhance the happiness of 
the bird that, soaring heavenwards, pours out its 
little soul in songs of thankfulness. 

I am not, be it understood, criticizing the above 
quotation as an emotional view of the world. 
But every emotional view is necessarily one-sided 
and can be regarded as an expression of truth 
only when rectified by the emotional view appro- 
priate to the contemplation of the other side. 

In all our fault-finding with the methods of 
nature let us lay to heart the fact that some of 
the worst evils to which the pessimist can point 
are the results of man's attempts to improve that 
very order of evolution which he criticizes. In our 
efforts to relieve the unfortunate we are often 
dismayed to find that we have pauperized them 
and that their number increases in a bewildering 
ratio. In our efforts to educate them we often 
unfit them for the stations they would naturally 
fill, the work they are capable of doing, without 
successfully adapting them to anything else. We 
take them away from the environment which 
they understand, and leading, sometimes driving, 
them into a strange land, abandon them there. 
It perhaps seems to us that we have given them 
a better heritage, but in many cases they are 
wholly unable to adapt themselves to it. 

I believe it is no exaggeration to say that the 
great problem of our modern civilization is not to 
persuade men to devote themselves largely to living 
for others, but rather to discover ways of doing 


this which will not aggravate the evils that we 
deplore. I am not questioning the legitimacy or 
the urgency or, in the long run, the usefulness of 
human effort in this direction. We are intelligent 
factors in the world-process and great responsi- 
bilities are ours. The Supreme Wisdom that 
works in all things has taken human agency into 
His service and laid great tasks upon it. 

What I wish to point out is this: there is no 
royal road to the elevation of mankind. Our 
theories of the way to effect it are easily woven, 
and our Utopias, as we dream them, look as easy 
of attainment as they are delightful to anticipate. 
But somehow the roads that, on the chart of our 
dream, looked so well constructed on a substratum 
of assumed human goodness, have proved imprac- 
ticable. And after trying our hand at society- 
building, we have had to come back, humbled in 
spirit, to learn of nature. We have had our eyes 
opened to the fact that the problem is a vastly 
bigger one than we had thought, and that the 
Divinity that shapes our ends draws His wisdom 
from depths that we have not fathomed. 


But, this method of studying our subject gives 
little more than a preliminary glance at it. We 
have been bestowing our attention on details and 
on methods of working; it remains to examine the 
movement as to its fruits. If evolution were 
simply a succession of states, or organisms, pro- 


ceeding one from another by differentiation, 
without progress or definite direction toward an 
apparent end, we should have to be satisfied with 
comments like the above. But we are not thus 

Since evolution is sl progressive continuity, a 
unified process of ever-increasing complexity, it 
will easily be seen that we approach the problem 
of God's benevolence under far more advantageous 
conditions than those in which the theologians 
of an elder day found themselves. We are per- 
mitted to concentrate attention upon one main 
issue; namely, the tendencies, results, and impli- 
cations of the process as a whole. "By. their 
fruits ye shall know them." Can we ascertain 
the end toward which evolution seems to be 
moving? Can we determine the nature of the 
highest product thus far elaborated? Can we 
show this to be an outcome of supreme worth 
and of such a nature that it points to still higher 
values? If we can find satisfactory answers to 
these questions we shall have something sub- 
stantial on which to build a conception of God's 
character. We shall not have to be looking now 
on this side and now on that, balancing accounts 
and wavering as we divide our attention between 
the two. 

We are sometimes told that what we here sug- 
gest is a fruitless or worse than fruitless quest, 
that evolution, of itself, gives us no evidence of 
progress toward an end of any kind, let alone one 


of supreme worth. But such a judgment as this 
can be pertinent only to a purely outside view of 
the process, and if we join the hopeless ones in 
confining our induction to its purely external 
aspects, we may have to join them also in their 
conclusions. For, from such a point of view, 
evolution seems to be hardly more than a great 
dramatic representation, full of stirring episodes, 
in which human beings are, at the same time, the 
actors and the spectators. Now it is a scene of 
conflict, long-drawn-out and deadly; now it is 
one of peace that floweth like a river. Lofty 
heights of feeling and achievement are reached, 
vistas of entrancing possibilities are opened into 
an unattainable future. Triumph and despair, 
love and hate, trust and betrayal, expectation 
and disappointment, and then the dropping of 
the curtain, and darkness. We are told that this 
great process of mundane evolution cannot go on 
indefinitely, that it will reach a culminating point 
and then recede as it has advanced, slowing down 
as the rays from a cooling sun reach it with an 
ever-decreasing vitality, until the last living thing 
has disappeared. From chaos unto chaos, a 
grand pageant, nothing more. 

But, thanks be to the Creator of all things, we 
are not doomed to stand for ever gazing at the 
external aspects of the world: we are permitted 
to enter and to have its meaning explained to us. 
In the self-consciousness of man we are conducted 
straight into the heart of things; we are admitted 


to the secrets of the great world-process. Man, 
it is true, is but one little part of the universe. 
But his self-knowledge is a door by which he 
gains admission to its interior. And once in, there 
is no limit to his comprehension of problems 
that would, otherwise, be opaque for ever. 

This unique, inside knowledge of one part of the 
universe becomes to us the key to the whole of it. 
Here all the great concepts by which man inter- 
prets the world have had their origin. Here the 
idea of cause, which philosophers have so vainly 
tried to educe from external relations, came to the 
birth. Only through the knowledge which man has 
of himself as an originator, a modifier of events, has 
he become possessed of that concept that lies at 
the foundation of all science; namely, that of a 
causative relation existing between the events of 
the external world. Here also, from the very 
same experiences and by the same process of 
inference, has sprung the conception of a great 
and all-powerful Creator, sustaining to the uni- 
verse relations similar to those which man sustains 
to the creations with which he has surrounded 

It is here, again, that we are made acquainted 
with that special group of instincts which together 
constitute man's moral and religious nature. 
Gradually, from small beginnings, dawned the 
light of moral values, — the faculty to discern in 
actions a higher and a lower, a better and a worse. 
Here, in ever clearer outlines, appeared, on the 


background of self-consciousness, the vision of a 
superior ideal-self contrasted with its counterpart, 
the vision of a degenerate self; and with the 
vision a command to achieve the one and to escape 
the other. Here arose, also, the instinct of wor- 
ship, — the instinct that voiced itself so wonder- 
fully in the ancient Hebrew liturgies, that men 
have continued, through all subsequent ages, to 
find in some of them the most satisfactory ex- 
pression of the human soul. And here, again, 
was born that prophecy of a life beyond the grave, 
in which the illusory ideals of earth's mirages, 
shall be more than realized. With these also we 
must class the whole outgrowth of the aesthetic 
side of man; the love of all that is beautiful and 
inspiring, and the creative impulse that urges 
him to express his love in constructions of his own. 

I have spoken of these instincts as a unique 
group that together constitute man's moral and 
religious nature and, thus characterizing them, 
have implied their organic unity. An organic 
unity they certainly are. They can be thought 
of separately, they can be treated and cultivated 
separately; but separately they are not that 
which we are seeking. All taken together, in 
their composite unity, they constitute the ground 
of the highest product of the world-process hitherto 
revealed. They are the nidus of the higher evolu- 
tion that is to be, the vital germ, containing the 
potency and promise of the future. 

As thus stated it is an ideal product, related to 


an ideal future. But it is not therefore merely 
a thing of words and imaginings. It has a very- 
real and concrete side. It is a matter of acts and 
experiences. In every age it has been incarnated 
in the lives of men and women whose feet have trod 
this earth, whose love and devotion have gone out 
to the things of this earth and, through them, to 
the things that are eternal. Not that we have 
seen or shall see all that is shadowed forth in these 
instincts realized in any individual. For if we 
affirm perfection of any human personality, it is, 
and always must be, a relative perfection ; relative, 
that is, to the age and society in which that per- 
sonality is developed. It is equivalent to saying 
that the principles, the elements, that lead to 
perfection are in this one fully represented, that 
we find here loyalty to all that is highest in the 
human soul. The highest realized product is the 
highest because, while declaring its own incom- 
pleteness, it points to a further development of 

Now for a deduction. To put it in the simplest 
way: Is it not a fair inference that the Creator's 
character is expressed to us in those qualities that 
He has made us, the most highly developed of 
His creatures, to recognize as the highest? When 
we say with the Psalmist, "0 come, let us worship 
and fall down and kneel before the Lord our 
Maker," is it the call to an act of adoration simply 
on the ground that God is the author of our being? 
Is it not rather because morally, religiously, 


aesthetically, He has made us such as we are, 
beings so constituted that our reverence and love 
spring up spontaneously toward certain qualities? 
because we see in Him the reflection and source 
of whatsoever things are pure, lovely, morally and 
physically beautiful? because we trace back to 
Him, as their author, all such qualities as justice, 
mercy, truth, and love? because He has made us 
creatures of hope and aspiration, has given us 
life, and with it the potentiality of realizing, 
progressively, all that life prophesies? 

But, it may be asked, are not those other 
instincts also from Him — those that often antago- 
nize the uplifting ones? Has He not planted the 
germs of passion and of virtue side by side? 
And while He has made justice and mercy, loyalty 
and unselfish love adorable, has He not also made 
them most difficult, permitting their opposites 
so to root themselves in our nature and so domi- 
nate us with their insistence that our vital energy 
is often given to them even while our respect and 
reverence go out toward their rivals? The good 
we approve, that we do not; the evil we would 
not, that we do. Truly, and herein is revealed in 
its clearest light the face of the Author of our 
being. It declares most unmistakably what He 
approves and what He reprobates. Each aspect 
of the truth emphasizes the other. We could see 
neither clearly without its opposite. 

But, more than this, it is just this moral 
antagonism, this war in our members, that sup- 


plies the indispensable condition of actual mo- 
rality. It is from this that the very knowledge 
of good and evil springs. It is in this that all 
moral strength is generated and all virtue of 
whatsoever description. The instincts that start 
us on the way toward the love of God, though 
organically connected with the highest fruits of 
evolution, are not themselves those fruits. They 
constitute the root-system of the tree of life. 
Character begins in them and, all along its 
course, is fostered by them. But it is only 
through the antagonisms of good and evil in 
the moral consciousness of man that character 
becomes actual. Without the presence of these 
two principles of moral light and darkness, men 
might be morally sentient, but never morally 
intelligent, or morally efficient, beings. Through 
their conflicting agency morality emerges from 
the realm of feeling into that of energizing, over- 
coming, creating. 

Only so, has sprung into being that race of moral 
heroes, that cloud of witnesses in whom we have, 
speaking reverently, God objectified. God with 
us, testifying to the God that is in us. I say 
speaking reverently; for in our inherited religion 
we have been familiarized with the thought of 
one supreme and only incarnation of the Great 
Being Whom we worship. But why should the 
recognition of this supreme example blind us to 
the fact that human history is full of partial 
incarnations that have, in different ways, contrib- 


uted to the formation of the highest ideal which 
we worship as God? From age to age the process 
has continued, a perennial and ever-advancing 
revelation of God in the moral perceptions and 
inspired utterances of good men, and objectified 
in their lives. This has been and is the law of 
all moral evolution. All the greatness, all the 
virtue, everything in human character that 
elevates and inspires the soul has entered and 
established itself in human consciousness by this 
method. First the progressive illumination within, 
then the progressively realized and substantiated 
achievement wrought out in actual life. 

To thus extend the scope of the principle of 
incarnation can detract in no way from the signifi- 
cance of its supreme example. On the contrary, 
by removing that highest example from the isola- 
tion of a unique, anomalous phenomenon we 
intensify its meaning and make its acceptance, 
as an article of belief, not the deadlift of faith 
in a mystery, but a normal deduction from a 
well-defined law of nature. It appears as the 
continuance of God's method of working in His 
world. We cannot be said to have assimilated 
any fact of experience, or of history, until we have 
found its place in the hitherto observed order of 
the world. To discover this is its interpretation, 
its introduction and matriculation into the body 
of belief by which we live. 

To come back to our argument: assuming that 
we have determined, in outline, the highest prod- 


uct of current evolution, and furthermore that we 
have found it to be an outcome of supreme worth 
pointing to the realization of still higher values, 
we may now advance our hypothesis to a higher 
position. From the status of a weak herbaceous 
plant it has developed woody fibre and a good 
degree of stiffness to resist assault. Its roots 
have found a strong hold in the soil of human 
experience and it gives promise of a vigorous 
growth. But it is not unassailable, and it is worth 
our while to forestall some of the forms of contra- 
diction which, if well grounded, would cause it 
to wither like Jonah's gourd. It is hardly to be 
expected that we should try to enumerate and 
answer all the ways in which our hypothesis may 
be criticized. But there are two which, as living 
issues, demand our attention. 


I am assuming the following propositions to 
be true. First, Evolution is an all-comprehensive 
process. It is not simply a method by which some 
things have been brought to pass. All things have 
come by it and through it. Second, The fact that 
man has had an important share in the achievement 
of his present moral status does not obliterate the 
fact that it is also the work of the God of evolution. 

If the first of these propositions is not true, it is 
clear that our argument for the goodness of God 
derived from the moral nature of man as the 
highest product of evolution is not conclusive. 


If, when any part of our experience seems to be 
at odds with the methods of the great process it 
may be ruled out as alien to it, the whole case is 
prejudged. This is just the attitude taken, in 
our day, by a school of thought that represents 
much intellect and cultivation. The methods of 
evolution, it is affirmed, are throughout immoral; 
therefore the moral nature of man cannot be its 
product. To substantiate this position the un- 
lovely characteristics of the great process, up to 
the advent of morally enlightened man, are drawn 
for us with the most uncompromising exclusive- 
ness, leading to the dilemma of moral indifference 
on the one hand, if a presiding intelligence is 
postulated, or, on the other, to blind forces without 
purpose, or consciousness. 

In contrast to this picture, man is set before us as 
the beginning and the source of all morality, of all 
nobility, of everything that elevates and inspires 
the soul. He, a being of unknown and untrace- 
able origin, is the only thing of worth, or dignity, 
in the world. He has given birth to that ideal of 
a perfect type of being that should dominate the 
hearts and imaginations of the race. He is the 
supreme reality, the all in all, the final end of our 
strivings, the highest object of our worship. To 
infer, from what man is, the existence of a being 
of higher intelligence, say the Positivists, is not 
simply illegitimate, it is most harmful, in that it 
withdraws from the cult of Humanity the zeal 
and enthusiasm that should be its motive power, 


But we cannot play fast and loose with the prin- 
ciple of evolution, availing ourselves of it here 
and excluding it there. To do this would be to 
discredit it altogether. In short, the assumption 
of a something independent of the great process, 
not concerned in it, takes issue with all the 
evidence that goes to support it. But, lest this 
should seem a too summary way of dismissing 
the subject, let us try to look at the matter from 
the positivist point of view, and argue it solely 
on the ground of appearances. 

I will ask the reader to pass in review any one 
of the processes which, within the sphere of his 
experience, have led to the most finished works 
of human creative ability. Here, for instance, is 
a human abode, perfect in its adaptations to the 
wants of the most highly developed man. Every- 
thing about it and its surroundings expresses 
harmony, fitness, restfulness. Art and nature 
have met together, usefulness and beauty have 
kissed each other. In such an abode every desire 
is at once met by appliances that have anticipated 
it. Whichever way the eye turns, it is greeted 
by some new delight. 

Now let us send our imaginations back, not 
only along the course of the construction of 
this one abode, but along the many and devious 
tracks by which various co-operating arts and 
sciences have toiled and felt their way toward 
this consummation. What crudity, what abor- 
tiveness, what failures, what unloveliness of 


laboratory and workshop, what dirt and daub- 
iness and noisome exhalations, what hope de- 
layed and heart-breaks on the part of the 
human factors that have, from first to last, con- 
tributed to the result! What resemblance is 
there between all this incompleteness and turmoil 
and the harmony of the outcome? And if we fix 
our attention on all the unlovely aspects of the 
antecedent process, its hardships, its disappoint- 
ments, its apparently fruitless sacrifices, quite 
putting out of mind the fact that it has had also 
its triumphs, its exultations, its satisfied enthusi- 
asms, how easy to see the process as the opposite 
of that which it has produced! 

I am loath to suggest the absurdity of a sage 
so transcendently wise as to propound the theory 
that the manifest incongruity of these two, the 
process and the outcome, render quite impossible 
the belief that the latter has proceeded from the 
former. And yet the hardihood of a philosopher 
who, in the light of the new revelation of an all- 
embracing world-process, can hope to prove the 
higher nature of man to be outside and alien to it, 
seems to the writer to be quite equal to such an 
absurdity. The word prove is used designedly, 
for the burden of proof surely lies with those who 
postulate such a departure from the principle 
of nature's uniformity. The only semblance of 
proof possible in this case is the alleged incongruity 
between the process and the product. But it is 
the business of science and of philosophy to dis- 


cover the underlying continuity that such apparent 
contradictions hide from us. Only by the recon- 
ciliation of facts seemingly irreconcilable, only by 
patiently disentangling that which at first presents 
itself as hopelessly involved, by discovering rela- 
tions between things held to be absolutely unre- 
lated, has science achieved that unification and 
organization of our knowledge that we call a 
scientific creed. 

Positivism with all that calls itself Agnosticism, 
as related to our higher beliefs, while posing as the 
advanced outcome of modern thought is, in fact, 
essentially archaic. Its spirit is the opposite of 
the scientific. It is impatient, assertive, dogmatic. 
It declares questions closed on the ground of 
its emotions. It sets aside the law of continuity 
as brusquely and confidently as any doctor of 
theology with the authority of the Church behind 

But it is not at all with the affirmations of 
positivism that we have a controversy. It is not 
its positivism but its negativism that blocks the 
way. So far as its exaltation of man is concerned, 
it is building upon reality. After God, man's 
nature is indeed the greatest reality of our experi- 
ence. Taken in connection with its outlooks, its 
far-reaching prophecies, it is a reality of such 
importance that no exaggeration of it is to be 
feared. But when men address themselves to the 
task of defining its limitations from the standpoint 
of what it has been hitherto, then it is that dark- 


ness closes in. And when men are so enamoured 
of that which they know, that they feel competent 
to set bounds to all further knowledge, we can 
but recognize a phenomenon with which evolution 
has made us familiar; that is, arrested develop- 
ment. Modern thought has here, so to speak, 
pocketed itself. 

That which a pragmatic theology must always 
fight against, as true science does, is the ten- 
dency to foreclose the situation, to raise the cry, 
"Thus far and no farther." It is a significant 
fact that the so-called religion of positivism and 
that form of church religion that takes its stand 
on "the faith once delivered to the saints" are 
one in spirit, although the positions to which 
they irrevocably commit themselves are as wide 
apart as the poles. 

I have hitherto, for argument's sake, tacitly 
accepted the charge of manifest incongruity 
between the moral nature of man and the antece- 
dent course of evolution. But for argument's 
sake only. I take issue radically with that posi- 
tion, and that, not alone because of faith in nature's 
continuity as a general principle, but also on the 
strength of facts which are already in our posses- 
sion. Looking back over the way by which we 
have come, a goodly array of analogies show us an 
unmistakable track of continuity, the well-defined 
beginnings of that which has flowered forth in the 
higher nature of man. To develop more fully 
this relatedness, to demonstrate the unity of 


purpose and of method that makes a straight story 
of it all, and to gather therefrom a far steadier and 
clearer outlook into the probable future of man's 
evolution, is one of the great tasks of the inductive 
theology of the days that are before us. 


The second proposition instanced as having a 
vital bearing on our argument is one of very wide 
outlooks and can be touched upon only briefly 
in this connection. It was as follows: The fact 
that man has had a share in the achievement of his 
present moral status does not debar us from tracing 
its origin to God. Every product of evolution, 
in so far as it is shaped by mind, is the result 
of a co-operative activity, the joint work of the 
Creator and the creature. Much depends on 
the faithfulness and the efficiency of the latter, 
but the initial impulse at every upward step 
of the process and the overruling guidance that 
shapes our ends can be found nowhere but in the 
Supreme Intelligence. This dual proposition is not 
new, but with evolution it has had a new position 
given to it, a position of central and formative 
influence which will make itself most powerfully 
felt in the transformation and vitalizing of old 

No better illustration of this could be instanced 
than the issue before us. The origin of the moral 
sense in man has been an endlessly controverted 
question, and conclusions of vital importance 


have been assumed to flow from the adoption of 
one or the other of the following alternatives. 
On the one hand, it was said, the moral sense is 
intuitive. It was implanted in the, human soul 
by the Creator. And on the other hand, it was 
affirmed, the moral sense is an outgrowth of human 
experience. It originated in the smallest begin- 
nings, the faintest glimmerings of discernment as 
regards moral values and moral judgments. If 
the former account of its origin were justified, 
then, it was held the moral sense is authoritative, 
imperious, divine. If the latter hypothesis pre- 
vailed it was said to be brought down to the level 
of all those other conventions of men that have 
sprung up in connection with the formation of 
human society, and therefore without implications 
as regards a higher power. 

Theistic evolution brings this controversy to a 
final end, removes it absolutely from the realm 
of living issues, and this, because it makes it clear 
as the day that both sides in the controversy have 
the truth with them. Each statement, taken by 
itself, is a half-truth, but altogether misleading 
in so far as it is exclusive of the other half. The 
moral sense of man can find its origin riowhere 
but in God, whose wisdom is the source and effi- 
ciency of all this great scheme of things of which 
we know the gradual becoming. But it has come 
to be what it is only through man's ever-repeated 
responses and adjustments of himself to a con- 
tinually widening moral horizon. Yet the author- 


ity of the moral sense is no less emphatic, no less 
categorical because it has been thus gradually 
evolved. Nor is it any less distinctly from God 
because it has come to be what it is through a 

And this brings into view a principle of the 
widest scope and of great importance as a 
clarifier of thought. Evolution has taught us 
that the beginnings of things and of ideas, as they 
come into our experience, are not significant. In 
the past, whenever a belief was challenged, the 
appeal was always to its genealogy, its origin in 
human thought. Whence did it spring? Is it 
a thing that has grown into general acceptance, 
nobody knows how? Or does it come with the 
brand of superior birth upon it, the prestige of 
a great name or a great institution attached 
to it? Was it noble and commanding from the 

In the light of evolution this appeal becomes 
every day of less and less significance; a change 
that might, at first sight, seem like the reversal of a 
deep-seated mental habit, or even the obliteration 
of an instinctive demand of the moral nature. 
But no such revolution is involved. The great 
process does not abolish the demand for credentials. 
It simply removes the appeal from a God assumed 
to have given us finished products to a God Who 
has worked and still works in a not-yet-completed 
world, through and by the intelligent co-operation 
of His creatures. Within the realm of human 


origins the change has indeed been revolutionary: 
and it came as a shock. 

When evolution first appeared as a new hypoth- 
esis of the creation of the world, the one aspect of 
it that caught and held the imaginations of the 
multitude was that which affected our belief in 
the descent of man. Man, who had hitherto 
prided himself on being the degenerate offspring 
of a primitive ancestor far superior to himself, 
could not easily adjust his consciousness to the 
fact of a base ancestry, from which the race had 
struggled upward very gradually, through the 
tribulation of untold years. The manifest great- 
ness of the achievement weighed but little in the 
balance against the unwelcome fact of the humble 
origin. The new derivation seemed somehow 
to involve contemporary man in the low estate 
of his far-away ancestors. If he came from the 
lower animals, must not his nature be one with 

This, I have said, was the aspect of evolution 
that first caught our imaginations, but very soon 
it was seen that this reversal of our idea of the 
origin of man was only a sample, the forerunner of 
a complete breaking up of our notions of begin- 
nings. Nothing remained unaffected by it. The 
highest, the most authoritative, the most wor- 
shipful conceptions were seen to be involved 
in this novel theory of derivations. They must, 
one and all, acknowledge a lowly origin; and we 
were brought to recognize the fact that the infant 


born of humble parents in a manger at Bethlehem 
was no exception to the order of becoming that 
prevails in the world-process. 

Let it be understood that I am speaking 
only of the insignificance of origins as they 
appear in our experience. That their littleness 
lies only in our apprehension of them, is mani- 
fest enough. The greatness to which they have 
grown, proclaims at the same time the potency 
that was latent in them and the greatness of 
the intelligence whence they proceeded. The 
standards to which they have led and are leading 
in the evolution of life and thought are not only 
their credentials of truth, but also the evidence 
of their divine origin. 

This method of reaching and holding a convic- 
tion of God's reality and goodness may appear to 
some as incapable of furnishing men with stable 
beliefs. It may be said, If our knowledge of the 
Supreme Being is the outcome of a process not- 
yet-finished, our thought of Him must always be 
subject to change. It can never be quite the 
truth. The teachings of the past were authorita- 
tive, absolute, unchangeable. They proclaimed 
a God "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." 
But the God declared in a process is like a cloud in 
the sky; most beautiful, perhaps, but ever chang- 
ing its form. Who can be sure that, in the evolu- 
tion of human thought and feeling, any and every 
conception of God so formed will not, like the 
cloud, pass away absolutely? Such indeed may be 


the fate of any particular image we may form of 
the Invisible One. The thoughts of Him that have 
succeeded and displaced each other in the human 
mind are innumerable and, probably, no two per- 
sons have precisely the same presentiments with 
regard to Him. But this diversity of view is not 
peculiar to the conception of God. 

No two persons see exactly the same picture 
when they look out upon the external world of 
nature, or of social relations. But, with all our 
differences, we see it sufficiently alike for practical 
purposes. So with regard to the world of moral 
values; notwithstanding great diversity in the 
convictions of individuals and groups, there is a 
consensus, a body of fundamental agreement to 
which there has been, through all the ages, cohe- 
rence and continuity. If our thought of God is 
rooted in these it will have all the stability that 
is required, without the rigidity that ensures 
destruction whenever the growth-forces of evolu- 
tion burst through the artificial formulas in which 
men have tried to fetter them. These formulas, 
claiming to represent absolute and immutable 
truth, have been forged for the very purpose of 
counteracting the tendency to variation and 
instability. And through seasons of spiritual and 
intellectual stagnation they have held their own, 
like the vital forces that slumber in seeds that 
have been carefully kept out of the reach of 
vivifying influences. But when, from changed 
circumstances, the time of quickening comes, 


the dead form is cast off to be no more renewed. 
The day of the stereotyped, certified concept has 
passed. Its very absoluteness and rigidity render 
its adaptations to new conditions impossible. 

Clearly, if we would have agreement and sta- 
bility in our thought of God we must also have 
elasticity. It must be something in our experi- 
ence that lives, that has grown with the growth 
of human thought. More often than not, when 
the old forms are discredited, those who openly 
break away from them couple their denials with 
affirmations of a reality that stands for them in 
the place of a personal God. We have such con- 
fessions of faith as, " morality in the nature of 
things/ ' "a stream of tendency that makes for 
righteousness," or it is the apotheosis of an ideal- 
ized and worshipful humanity. These bear wit- 
ness to the vitality and the indestructibility of 
the conviction of goodness that lay at the heart 
of the discarded formula. 

The affirmations of such unbelievers are of far 
more significance than their denials; for the 
affirmations are replete with life and the promise 
of development. The denials have no relevancy 
to the real facts of the world. They concern only 
the forms into which the belief in God has been 
temporarily cast. The word personality may 
stand for the narrowest conception of embodiment 
in human form, or it may stand for the personality 
of a soul, resembling the creative soul of man, only 
immeasurably greater, without reference to form. 


It is not difficult to conceive that the soul of a 
great man may survive his body and enter upon a 
sphere of activity immeasurably wider than that 
of his earthly career. Following this idea we may 
express our thought of God in some such words 
as these. He is for each one of us the personifica- 
tion of the supreme ideal. He is the living reflex 
of that which is highest in the whole realm of 
human thought and imagination. 

Not that human thought or human imagination 
have ever taken, or can take, His measure. It is 
simply to say that the highest conception of good 
is, or should be, at any given time in the history of 
moral evolution, the God of those who entertain 
it. Holding such a conception, our thought will 
always be adequate to our need, and we shall 
always find room for the new thought when we 
have grown up to it. The stability and the 
variability will be those of a growing body, 
changing every day, but preserving its identity. 
Elements that have outlived their usefulness 
disappear, to be replaced by other elements 
that are similar yet different. We, by intelli- 
gent efforts, make our own brain-cells, the in- 
struments of our thought and action; and they, 
in turn, make us. So with our conception of 
God; we have a large share in determining its 
form, and it, in turn, forms us. 

But, observe, it is just as true that God forms 
us and also the human ideal by which we climb 
to a conception of Him. We make God in our 


own image because He first made us in His. 
There is, it seems to me, every reason to believe 
that we have reached a stage in human evolution 
that will put us in possession of a thought of God 
far more stable, more incontrovertible, more 
restful, more sustaining, more inspiring, because 
it is a growing thought of Him — one that may 
always be in agreement with the growing advanc- 
ing world through which He is ever revealing 



WE may sum up the results thus far 
reached somewhat as follows. Man's 
knowledge of God depends, primarily, 
upon his knowledge of himself. Its initial stage 
was the reflex of man's dawning self-consciousness, 
and with the deepening of his moral insight and 
the widening of his intellectual horizon it has ever 
grown broader and deeper. 

But, this is not the only source of our knowledge 
of God. The great world of things which forms 
our environment also expresses God, though not 
so directly and intimately as the human soul 
which interprets it. Both are from Him; each 
throws light upon the other and upon their com- 
mon author. These three, man, nature, God, 
hang together and in their living relations con- 
stitute our knowledge of that which is. No one 
of these elements can be said to be real if regarded 
out of relation to the other two. Theology is an 
abstract, bloodless science unless studied through 
our knowledge of man and nature. Man is an 
incomprehensible fragment of reality except as he 
is studied in relation to God and God's world in 



which he finds himself. Nature is meaningless 
until a humanly revealed God is recognized as 
its indwelling principle. Theology, then, may be 
said to be the explication of that factor in the 
world's history which, while it is distinct both 
from nature and from man, profoundly influences 
both. It is a progressive science to which every 
part of our knowledge is germane! And since God 
and man and nature are involved in one great 
process, we must seek and expect to find general 
principles that hold throughout. 

Our study of evolution from the outside brought 
us to the conclusion that the animated world is 
essentially the outcome of co-operative agencies, 
of a supreme intelligence working in and with 
its creatures, constraining them to multiform 
activities which contribute not alone to their 
immediate advantage, but which also, through 
the persistence of co-operation, carry them to 
an advanced place on the scale of being. By 
the study of the same process from within we 
were able to reach, through the facts of man's 
moral constitution, some important deductions as 
to the character of God. Man's moral and aes- 
thetic discernments, the innate sense of obligation 
accompanying these, his instinctive desire to know 
and to worship a being higher and better than 
himself, and in general his idealizing faculty, 
were instanced as evidences of the beneficence of 
the Being whom he calls his Maker. This is the 
beginning, the rudiments of an argument that we 


must now follow out through many departments 
of experience. 


Hitherto, we have been regarding life in its 
static aspect, we have arrested its flow to make 
investigation of its essential characteristics ; or, in 
other words, we have examined the fruits of evo- 
lution. Now, we must return to the consideration 
of the not-yet-finished process and investigate the 
living, never-ceasing stream of influences that work 
within and without us. The study of these ought 
to furnish us with a progressive knowledge of what 
God is doing, as the former examination acquainted 
us with a knowledge of what He has done. For 
evolution implies a God Who is still creating, Who 
is now engaged in a most significant part of the 
process, and also a God Who has taken man into 

The influences that work within us divide 
themselves naturally into two classes. First, 
those that are intimately bound up with our own 
personality, that seem to arise from a spontaneous 
initiative out of the depths of our inherited and 
acquired constitutions; and second, those that 
seem to visit us, like ministering angels, from some 
power not ourselves. To the first class belong all 
those inward propulsions toward certain more or 
less definite lines of action which we call instincts. 
They are the master motives of our lives, and some 
of them date back their origin to the very begin- 


nings of organization. Others have manifestly 
emerged high up on the scale, but all of them are 
influences that are subject to modification. The 
oldest and most persistent, as well as the later, are 
open to innumerable transformations. 

It has been said that man is a bundle of in- 
stincts. But it is quite as true that these instincts 
are continually adjusting and readjusting them- 
selves to new conditions, exhibiting, now on this 
side and now on that, adaptations and activities 
hitherto unknown. The most interesting and 
vitally important of these adjustments are those 
which obtain in view of the direct efforts of the 
human will. 

The individual has immense power over his 
inherited instincts. It is for him to say which 
shall hold the places of honour and power in his 
life and which shall be subordinate and tributary. 
Not those which he finds seated in the place of 
leadership are necessarily to remain in that posi- 
tion. The appointing power is his, if so be he has 
the strength of will to exercise it. By the per- 
sistent application of will power he may organize 
his inherited instincts into a government of related 
habits that transform him from a bundle of 
instincts into a human personality of established 
character — an organic, serviceable unity, not a 
mere aggregation. Not that this is the only 
source of variation of instinct. In human beings 
the inheritance that comes to each individual has 
been already profoundly modified in his ancestors. 


But before following out this most important 
question of modifications, let us glance for a 
moment at the derivation of the motive powers 
which collectively we call instinct. We have said 
that it comes to us by inheritance ; but let us not 
be deceived into thinking that we have explained 
the origin of instinct when we have dignified a mere 
transmitting agency with the name ''principle of 
heredity." Not one ray of light does this principle 
of heredity throw upon the origin of the guiding 
influences that have worked the works of intelli- 
gence for the animated creation. 

In our analogical interpretation of evolution 
we found it necessary to postulate two sources of 
intelligence, that of the Creator and that of the 
creature. Everywhere the study of nature, as 
well as of human experience, discloses a sharing 
of responsibility between these two intelligent 
factors. And furthermore, it discloses a contin- 
ual change in the proportions of the responsibil- 
ity resting upon each. The principle seems to be 
that just so much of the management of its own 
affairs as it is equal to, is laid upon the creature. 
This, combined with the recognition of the fact 
that man, notwithstanding his increased intel- 
lectual endowments, is still very largely dependent 
upon instinct, has opened our eyes to the con- 
tinuity of the great process as nothing else could 
have done. And here, as elsewhere, the principle 
of continuity declares itself an invaluable ally to a 
sound theory. 


The old conception of instinct, that it was, in 
the animals below man, the only guide to action, 
the only substitute for intelligence, and conversely, 
that in man, government by instinct recedes to a 
vanishing point, was, in its theological bearings, an 
error of far-reaching consequences. It was an idea 
that most effectually isolated man. The animals 
below man were still the wards of the Creator. He 
did their thinking for them. But man, having been 
endowed with intelligence, was set off to shift for 
himself, and, according to the old theology, he 
had so abused his liberty that he had become an 
outcast, a repudiated part of the great family. 
But, by the recognition of the persistence of 
instinct through all stages of the great process, 
God is known as an ever-present factor in the 
life of man; and as our knowledge of the condi- 
tions under which we live increases, the more we 
are obliged to expand our thought of an intelligence 
working with us that is not our intelligence, but 
that of a Being immeasurably superior. 

And when, looking in the other direction, we 
push, by the aid of the microscope, our investi- 
gations back to the simplest beginnings of ani- 
mated life, we find no break in the continuity, 
only a progressive change in the proportional 
efficiency of the two intelligent factors. The 
farther back we go, the more difficult does it 
become to trace indications of intelligence on the 
part of the creature. And, on the other hand, it 
is just here that we encounter the most impressive 


instances of apparent clairvoyance as related to 
future requirements. 

In the development of the egg from the single 
nucleated cell, through the successive stages of the 
multiplication and differentiation of cells, we have 
an epitome of the history of creation through its 
myriad forms of ever-increasing complexity. In no 
part of the whole process is the foresight of condi- 
tions and requirements lying in the far-away future 
so wonderfully evidenced as in those which lie 
nearest to the beginning. Or, if we confine our 
attention to a single instance of passing from a 
given form of established organized life to the one 
next above it, the evidence of intelligent foresight, 
of the clear understanding of future necessities, and 
of provision to meet them is simply coercive in its 

As we have said, many of our instincts date 
back to the very beginnings of organized life. 
But there are many others that have made their 
appearance only since the advent of human life, 
and they have been introduced into the order of 
that life by the initiative of a higher intelligence, 
as clearly as any of the more rudimentary ones. 
Some of these are coercive, some are of the nature 
of inclinations, solicitations. They are not de- 
veloped in the same measure in all the individuals 
of the race. Some of the most masterful, like the 
instinct for self-realization, is very feebly devel- 
oped in many, and may be easily discouraged in a 
vast number. 


These more recently developed instincts being 
very much subject to our control and dependent 
on our wills for their development, are related to 
our destinies something as are the forces of nature 
in the midst of which we find ourselves. They are 
great motive powers, full of possibilities for the 
expansion and perfection of human life. But with- 
out effort on the part of those in whom they make 
their appearance, they run to waste. When that 
effort of the individual is supplied, there is experi- 
enced in response to it an additional and gratuitous 
assistance from an intelligence not ours, supple- 
menting ours, and carrying it and our effort to 
issues beyond our expectations. This assisting, 
supplemental intelligence is illustrated in every 
invention, in every great poetical and musical 
composition, in constructive triumphs of every 
kind that have been reached by the overcoming 
of difficulties. Let us observe what happens in 
such cases. 

The inventor or the composer enters upon his 
task with only the vaguest notion of what he is 
about to do. A more or less defined requirement 
of life is to be provided for, or some new form of 
expression of dimly understood thoughts or emo- 
tions is to be created; and he has within him 
an instinctive feeling that he is called to achieve 
this particular thing. He first brings his will to 
bear by concentrating his attention. His memory 
of past experiences comes to his aid. It suggests 
how similar situations have been met, and thus 


supplies materials. A constructive tendency of 
mind, which has perhaps been trained into a habit, 
carries him on its unnoticed current. And some- 
how, in obedience to these combined influences, a 
mystery of mysteries takes place. The nerve- 
cells of his brain organize themselves in elaborate 
and often absolutely new combinations, which 
present themselves to his critical judgment in the 
form of ideas. 

These we will say are only partially satisfactory. 
They are not in all respects what he wants. But, 
these reports have given him a far clearer notion 
of what he does want. The vagueness is in a 
measure disappearing. The requirements are, 
so to speak, sent back to the brain restated. 
Progress has been made, a new combination of 
nerve-cells is formed and again reported. It is 
as if the governor of a partially developed country, 
impressed with the necessity of improvements in 
certain directions, and with some general notions 
of what these should be, called to his aid a special- 
ist. Laying before him the outline of the situa- 
tion to be met, and his general scheme with regard 
to it, he submits to him the working out of the 
problem and the filling in of details. 

In other words, our invariable experience, in all 
such cases, points to the existence of an intelli- 
gence-not-ours that co-operates with ours and 
supplements it. Our intelligence, our will-power, 
our critical judgment, and our persistence are 
most important factors in the constructive work, 


but they would accomplish nothing without the 
co-operation of that other intelligent agent, who 
is more closely in touch with the secrets of being 
than we are. 

It is needless for us to distress ourselves, in 
this connection, with the thought of our littleness 
and insignificance as compared with the Supreme 
Ruler of the universe. Though we trace the 
assistance of which we are conscious, in the last 
result, to Him, there is no reason why we should 
conceive the administration of His great realm 
of spirit to be organized on principles radically 
different from those which obtain in human 
governments. On the contrary, there is every 
reason why we should assume a hierarchy of 
spiritual agents in a world where the hierarchical 
principle is so broadly and variously exemplified. 

The conception of a God Who acts everywhere 
and directly in all the details of the universe 
without intermediate agencies is not only crude 
and cumbersome, but without analogical support 
from any experience of ours. While, on the 
other hand, the alternative conception of a God 
Who is served by an innumerable host of subordi- 
nates, each in some particular position of trust, 
quite corresponds with what we know of the 
possibilities of mind, and in no way opens the 
door to polytheistic constructions. It is perhaps 
wisely ordered that we should have no definite 
knowledge of these subordinate agents, lest, cap- 
tured by them, our imaginations should fail 


to rise in recognition and worship to the one 
source of all power, wisdom, and love. 


Now, let us ask, are we able to state in a few 
words the principles of which the above considera- 
tions are the expression? Is it possible to com- 
press them into a formula which we can carry 
with us as a talisman through all the vicissitudes 
of life? At first sight it would seem as if the 
difficulties to be overcome were almost insur- 
mountable. Such a formula must be the state- 
ment of a dual agency, expressed in terms of 
God and man. It must take a paradoxical form, 
because each side of it must be as clearly defined 
and as strongly emphasized as if it constituted 
the whole. But, we are spared the necessity of 
invention, for in the ancient repository of our 
inherited wisdom we find a form that, with its 
rust knocked off, will admirably serve our needs. 
It is this: "WORK OUT YOUR OWN SAL- 

Like a dormant seed, this formula of twelve 
words has been slumbering through the Christian 
centuries till a congenial soil should be prepared 
for it. It contains in itself a whole theology. 
When, under a different figure, I spoke of knocking 
off its rust, the reference was to the very unsatis- 
factory state in which we find the word salvation. 
To some extent in theological constructions, and 


largely in popular thought, this word has in the 
past taken on a specialized meaning. Through 
long ages it has meant escape, in a future life, from 
the penal consequences of earthly misdemeanours. 
Men thought of it only as exemption from physical 
or mental punishment for their sins. It seemed 
to them a condition not flowing directly and neces-. 
sarily from the natures they might have formed for 
themselves, but a sentence pronounced upon them 
from an outside source, a doom that might be es- 
caped in something the same way that penalties 
are escaped on earth by bribing the judge. 

A very different view of salvation is set before 
us by the processes of nature. Here is an egg. 
It makes, to the eye, no declaration of what it 
can do; yet we know from experience that its 
possibilities are very great. But we know also 
from experience that the realization of these pos- 
sibilities is conditional. It is a most perishable 
thing. Only a few of the countless millions of 
eggs that are produced are ever anything more 
than eggs. Now salvation, as applied to an egg, 
may mean a variety of things. It may mean 
escape from being devoured as food; it may 
survive the chances of neglect; it may pass 
safely through the first stages of incubation or 
all the stages. But none of these escapes con- 
stitutes, in the largest sense, salvation. That is 
fully realized only when it has passed through all 
the successive stages of its normal becoming to 
the maturity of the organism that it is fitted to 


become. The same is true of every kind of germ- 
life, souls included. 

In the case of souls, it is true, the problem is a 
thousand times more complicated, but the prin- 
ciple is the same. The salvation of a soul is the 
full and progressive realization of the highest 
things possible to it. Creation and salvation are 
therefore cognate terms. We might even say 
that in principle they are synonymous. If we 
associate the word creation with the beginning of 
a process, salvation is the continuance of it, — 
its rescue, at every successive step, from destruc- 
tion. Evolution gives us a scientific phrase for 
this kind of salvation which has a startling, 
though unintentional, resemblance to the phrase- 
ology of the originator of Christianity. The 
scientific word is survival. The phrase of the 
religious teacher is eternal life, escape from death 
by the continuation of the process that has 
brought it into being. Salvation, then, is the 
rescue not only of a soul, but also of a process 
from premature ending, or misdirection. 

With this understanding of the word salvation 
I return to the statement that our formula con- 
tains within itself a whole theology. I believe 
it is capable of furnishing us with the foundations 
of an eminently symmetrical, evenly balanced 
theology. It sets before us, in one comprehensive 
view, the agency of the two great factors in theo- 
logical thought, emphasizes them equally, and 
exhibits their vital relations to each other. It 


should give us, moreover, a coherent theology. 
For although its statement is paradoxical, sug- 
gesting almost a contradiction, this appearance 
of contrariety vanishes upon its application. And, 
since it is not the outcome of the dissection of 
our concrete, real knowledge, but a deliverance 
in terms of actuality, it can always be submitted 
to this test of application by the attempt to live 
it. Whatever superstructure is built upon it may, 
or rather must, be referred to the facts of human 
experience for approval : and its constructions are 
always open to correction from the standpoint of 
our ever-expanding knowledge. 

It is, furthermore, capable of giving us a work- 
able theology, because it is expressed in terms of 
action. It sets out, not by telling us in elaborate 
definitions what God necessarily must be, not by 
defining, on the side of man, the characteristics 
of his moral constitution and the relations in 
which he stands to a God abstractly set forth, 
but it tells us, in no hesitating words, what God 
does in His world and what man has to do. 

That this great and pregnant formula should 
have lain dormant so long is not to be wondered 
at when we consider its relations to some of the 
doctrines which have through the ages held sway 
in the church. In one form or another, it is 
true, both clauses of our formula were recog- 
nized by the Church of Rome. Under its own 
supervision, it fostered the first as a vital prin- 
ciple in the government of men. The activities 


which it prescribed for working out one's own 
salvation were various, but they admit of clas- 
sification in two kinds which, to some extent, 
overlap each other. 

On the one hand there was the conception of a 
salvation to be purchased by the conciliation of an 
offended God. This, the survival of a very ancient 
form of belief that expressed itself through all the 
phases of paganism in sacrifices, has held its own 
to some extent in nearly every form of organized 
Christianity. True, the one great sacrifice had 
been substituted for the many. By that, God was 
said to have been propitiated and the demands 
of justice, once for all, satisfied. But, between the 
realization of the benefits acquired by this and 
the devout Catholic, there extends the indefinite 
vista of purgatorial punishments, and the reduc- 
tion of these has always been an incentive to the 
working out of what appeals to the imagination 
as a very real salvation. 

But the methods prescribed contemplated out- 
ward activities rather than inward changes. It 
was a salvation to be purchased, an indebtedness 
to be worked off, a definite amount of punish- 
ment due, to be proportionately reduced by 
charities, by mortifications, or by the payment of 
money for special intercessions on the part of the 

In contrast to this, though sometimes combined 
with it, was a conception of salvation and a 
method of securing it much nearer to that taught 


by evolution. It was nearer in that the salva- 
tion, laboured for, was to be achieved, not by a 
change in the attitude of another being, but in 
the disposition and characteristics of the indi- 
vidual to be saved. Asceticism, in so far as its 
motive was the subjugation of the natural man 
and the achievement of a higher personality, was 
vitally in touch with the morality of our day. 
But it was radically different both in its concep- 
tion of the personality to be worked for and in 
its methods. These latter, as essentially negative 
and destructive, were the reverse of those of an 
evolutional morality, which are constructive and 
progressive, and only in a subsidiary way, repres- 
sive. The ruling principle of asceticism was 
depletion, the getting rid of life's natural exuber- 
ance, which was assumed to be incompatible with 
the ascendancy of the spiritual part of man: 
fastings and vigils, the neglect of cleanliness and 
the ordinary laws of health, the closing of all the 
avenues of mental stimulation and growth, in 
short, the virtual suppression of the whole being 
for the elimination of the evil incidental to its 
natural activities. 

The ruling principle of evolution, on the other 
hand, is nutrition, the building up and strengthen- 
ing of every faculty, the fostering of every interest 
that promises an increase of life, and then, the use 
of this accumulated power for the control of the 
whole man and for the development of the interest 
which declares itself to be the highest. 


Asceticism found a warrant for its ideals and 
methods in some of the sayings of Our Lord which, 
taken by themselves, seem to be its endorsement. 
But it is much more ancient than Christianity. It 
is a natural growth of the human soul becoming 
conscious of itself and of the warring elements 
that contend within it for the mastery. It has 
its grand qualities notwithstanding its mistaken 
ideals and methods. In its recognition of a 
better self to be worked for, of a warfare to be 
waged, of a degradation to be escaped, it was the 
expression of instincts that are the spring of all 
higher moral evolution and salvation. But as it 
was a fight against nature, a reversal of the law of 
constructive evolution, it was doomed to failure; 
and the demonstration of its practical futility 
helped to bring discredit on any and every attempt 
to work out one's own salvation. 

Theoretically, Protestant orthodoxy excluded 
our formula more absolutely than Roman. Its 
substitution of salvation by faith for that of 
prescribed works, its doctrine of inability, elec- 
tion, etc., seemed to leave no room for the practice 
of the first half of it. But, the exigencies of the 
actual dominated the situation. Militant Prot- 
estantism, forced to work out its immediate salva- 
tion in the midst of a hostile environment, was 
in little danger of losing its virility by reposing on 
a theoretical salvation that had been, or was to 
be, worked out for it. " Trust in God and keep 
your powder dry" was its motto. The removal 


of the barrier of the church had, moreover, brought 
men face to face with the fact of God. And the 
men of the early days of Protestantism felt God, 
and knew God working in them, with an intensity 
proportioned to the conviction that they were His 
chosen instruments for the execution of a great 

And again, the Protestantism of that day was 
strongly tinctured with the spirit of asceticism. 
The subjugation of self through the suppression 
of natural instincts, the banishment of joy and 
of much that ministers to the sense of beauty and 
the refinements of life, were in the line of working 
out an impoverished kind of salvation; and a 
salvation it was to many souls. For, though 
pursued in defiance of theology and under the 
inspiration of inadequate and often misleading 
ideals, it was heroic work accompanied by a con- 
viction of the approval of a righteous and all- 
seeing God. The appointments of man might do 
much to thwart, but they could not prevent the 
grace of God from working out salvation in 
response to the sincere efforts of his creatures. 

Protests against the traditional theology were 
made now and again ; and the first clause of our 
formula was emphasized by dissenting bodies as 
the expression of the only true way of salvation. 
But the strength of such movements was largely 
absorbed in negations, in protests against the 
assumptions of the old, rather than in whole- 
souled efforts to frame an affirmative doctrine 


that should be a constructive power in the hearts 
and lives of men. The time had not come for 
such a reconstruction. But, we can see how these 
critical protests were preparing the way for it 
when the history of the world should have become 
transformed in the light of evolution. 

The doctrines of our inherited theology were, 
in great measure, the counterparts of the condi- 
tions in which they originated. The expansion of 
those conditions not only cleared the way for, 
but necessitated a like expansion in theology. 
The change required was much like that which 
characterized the passing of the crude science of 
the Middle Ages with its alchemy and its as- 
trology, its mixture of fact and superstition, into 
the modern science of research, inference, and 



HAVING made the assumption that our 
formula, "Work out your own salva- 
tion, it is God that worketh in you," 
is a comprehensive expression of the religious 
content of evolution, we must now see if it will 
stand the test of our method. At this stage in 
the discussion we hold it only as a working 
hypothesis. We must proceed to make applica- 
tions of it, now on this side and now on that, to 
the actualities of experience. So doing we shall 
progressively establish its truth, if it be true, 
and at the same time instruct ourselves as to the 
possibility and means of a satisfactory realization 
of it. 

Hitherto, for the sake of exhibiting it as an 
integral truth, we have glanced alternately at 
the contrasted sides of its dual reality. In what 
follows I will ask the reader to follow me in a 
closer and longer look at the first clause of it. 
"Work out your own salvation." If we give 
ourselves time to take in the full meaning of this 
appeal it will carry us right into the heart of life's 
most urgent problems. One of these, the ques- 



tion of its morality, its relation to the exhortation, 
"Live for others," I will not enter upon now, as 
we shall meet it at a subsequent stage of the 

First, let us give attention to the similarity 
of the first clause of our formula to that phrase 
which expresses, in the most succinct form, the 
motive power of all evolution, — "The struggle 
for existence." The resemblance between the 
two is such as to suggest identity, and this sug- 
gestion has been responsible for two modern 
schools of philosophy that ask us to follow them 
to the most bizarre and dismal conclusions. 
Schopenhauer, on the one hand, with the "will 
to live" as the sole incentive of life, and Niet- 
zsche, on the other, with his "will to power," 
have each in his own way illustrated the ruinous 
consequences of a method that has, in every 
department of speculative thought, led always 
and necessarily into bottomless morasses of 
absurdity. Such systems win followers for a 
time, partly because the excitement of smashing 
things is always exhilarating to a certain class of 
minds, more especially if those things be customary 
restraints to liberty of thought, emotion, or action, 
and partly because they embody an important 
element of truth. 

The misleading method to which I allude has 
already occupied our attention. It is the method 
of searching for the realities, the great moving 
principles of the world, in the dismembered 


elements of our concrete knowledge. The reali- 
ties that we have learned by hard experience, 
that hold their place in our lives because we are 
obliged to live them, are taken to pieces for the 
discovery of their inmost vital principle. At 
the end of the analysis some one of the factors, 
because it is persistent, is assumed to be the sole 
generating power of all the varieties and values 
in which it appears as an element. In other 
words, the whole content of life is reduced to 
its lowest terms by an arbitrary cancellation, 
and we are assured that the surviving factor 
represents its absolute value. Science traces 
back the various manifestations of energy in the 
universe to one persistent force. We are asked, 
therefore, by a certain school of thought, to see in 
this the sole principle of everything that is, and 
to adjust our estimate of values accordingly. 

The principle of evolution has given a great 
impetus and scope to the employment of this 
method. For the gradual becoming of all things, 
from the simplest beginnings, lures the imagina- 
tion with the hope of finding in these the measure 
of life. Since man has to trace his genealogy 
back to the lower animals, we are to go to them 
for the valuation of all that, in the upward 
march of evolution, has proceeded from them. 
To understand the vital principle which underlies 
the complexity of human experience we are asked 
to eliminate from it all its more advanced develop- 
ments till we reach some one basic principle that 


is common to all life. Then we are to assume that 
the meaning and value of all human thought, 
emotion, conviction, all its standards, all its 
ideals, all its hopes and expectations and motives 
of every kind, must be expressed in the terms of 
this one common principle. 

The struggle for existence, the will to live, 
it is affirmed, is such a principle. It is the parent 
instinct from which all other instincts and in- 
centives of every kind have sprung and of which 
they are modifications. In the increasing com- 
plexity of human developments, it is said, these 
have taken on certain artificial and fanciful 
aspects which have tyrannized over the human 
imagination, as superior and entitled to authority. 
But as matter of fact, they are in no way superior. 
They are, one and all, reducible to the primitive 
impulse of life, — the will to exist, or, as Niet- 
zsche puts it, the will to power. Religion, moral- 
ity, ideality of every kind, all man's notions of 
the nobility of his nature, are simply obscure 
phases of this root principle of all life. 

That these interpretations of human life have 
drawn to themselves many followers, is, as we 
have said, largely due to the fact that they 
embody a large element of truth; and, further- 
more, that this truth is one easily grasped and of 
great virility. It is the truth that meets one at 
every corner, that forces itself upon us wherever 
busy men are pursuing the ordinary ends of 
existence. It brings before us the forcible, 


violent element in life, before which its gentler 
persuasives seem things of inconsiderable weak- 
ness. It is the echo of our armaments and 
gigantic preparations for war that stand out in 
such strong contrast to the theories of our civiliza- 
tion. It is true also that there is much pretence 
and much self-deception in this world. Men 
take advantage of legalized morality for the 
furtherance of nefarious schemes and the satis- 
faction of predatory instincts. And, again, it 
is true that morality, on its religious side, has had 
its diseased outgrowths that have, to some extent, 
poisoned life with malarial doctrines and betrayed 
it with false issues. 

This element of truth has been sufficient to 
blind many to the inherent and essential fallacy 
of the scheme of things which these philosophies 
represent. And, for the limitation of the number 
of their adherents, we are indebted to the results 
reached by them — pessimism on the one hand 
and the apotheosis of brutality on the other — 
far more than to any formal exhibition of the 
fallacies that underlie them. 

But, for the purposes of this discussion, it is 
desirable and necessary that we sift this matter 
to the bottom; for, as we have already intimated, 
the two very diverse streams of development, 
ours and theirs, take their rise in the same source; 
namely, the struggle for existence. This is the 
great motive power of evolution reduced to its 
lowest terms; it is the incentive to effort common 


to the whole animated creation. It is only with 
the assumption that it constitutes the sole motive 
of human activities that we now join issue; and 
we do this, not, primarily, in view of the forbid- 
ding results reached, but on the ground that it is 
absolutely unscientific, that it traverses the facts 
and principles of evolution, and that every stage 
of the argument derived from it is characterized 
by the distortion of human experience. 

Through its whole course the process of evo- 
lution is marked by the introduction of new 
factors, — new not only in appearance, but 
essentially new in that they supply a hitherto 
unknown kind of efficiency. These factors may 
have been evolved from, or in connection with, 
antecedent forms and factors, but none the less 
do they contain an absolutely new element. 
Throughout the world we see differences of degree 
passing over into differences of essence, though 
we are puzzled to know at what point the trans- 
formation takes place. We are also abundantly 
familiarized with the phenomenon of potent 
influences appearing in the life history of the race 
that have no connection, so far as we can see, 
with what has gone before. They come in as 
superior officers come to take charge of troops in 
the organization and drilling of which they have 
had no part. 

This might be illustrated by what takes place 
in every department of evolution. But there is 
no one that appeals more directly to our common 


experience than the one that is specially germane 
to our subject; namely, that of instinct. I will 
therefore confine myself to that. 

Those who have devoted themselves to the 
special study of instinct in young animals have 
established the fact that these make their appear- 
ance not all at once, but successively, and at 
considerable intervals in the life history of the 
individual. One is predominant at birth and, 
though it may rule the situation only for a few 
days, establishes in that short time fixed habits 
that persist through life. Then there emerges 
another quite different and often antagonistic 
instinct that takes control, the one first developed 
retiring to a subordinate position. 

For instance, the congenital instinct of a newly 
born animal is to attach itself to the creature that 
is nearest to it at birth; that is, to its mother. But 
if, in domestication, it becomes familiarized with 
the presence of man during these first days it ac- 
cepts him also as a friend. But this friend-making 
tendency is soon superseded by the quite opposite 
one to suspect and avoid new acquaintances. 
A new instinct has been evolved, the object of 
which is to guard its possessor against the approach 
of enemies. All ranchmen know that a calf 
dropped in the bush is practically a wild creature 
unless it is discovered within a few days of its 

Now what is true of the individual is true 
equally of the race. Primitive instincts, having 


served their time, have a tendency to retire, 
leaving behind them in the organism a more or 
less defined inheritance of habit; while, on the 
other hand, new dominating instincts aspire to 
the place of control. The whole process of 
evolution is accompanied by and hinges upon 
such a succession of instincts. The ascent to 
each advanced stage is conditioned upon the 
development and, in the case of man, the foster- 
ing of some instinct that has made its appearance 
in his life as a new thing, and often as an influ- 
ence antagonistic to one that has been hitherto 

Every such juncture is a critical period, a tide 
in the affairs of the race or of the individual that 
should lead on to higher things. That it does not 
necessarily so result is manifest. The higher 
instinct may be allowed its full normal share in 
the succeeding development, or it may be repressed 
and overridden by the stronger instinct that is 
rooted in habit. As a matter of fact, life pre- 
sents itself in many cases as a long-drawn-out 
conflict between such instincts and tendencies: 
the new struggling to gain a foothold, the old 
clinging with tenacity to its established sway in 
the organism, — a veritable epitome of the life 
struggle, racial and individual, in which we find 

It is upon such a critical period that we enter 
when the race passes from the domination of 
impulse to the dawning regime of reason. The 


reasoning, inhibitive tendency, confronts the im- 
pulsive, strives to hold it in check, to postpone and 
restrain its action. The impulsive, on the other 
hand, ever and anon rises up in rebellion and 
struggles to throw off this upstart, restraining 
power. If the development is normal, these two 
principles will settle down to a joint control, 
the impulsive, holding still an important place 
in the initiative of the progressive life; the reason- 
ing, exercising the regulative, directing, steadying 
function. Superior on the scale of being as the 
new faculty is, it cannot get on without its col- 
league. Only by working together, supporting 
and regulating each other, do they advance upon 
the pathway of the higher life. 

As to the instinct that specially interests us, — 
that of self-preservation, or " the will to live," — 
it is indeed congenital and universal and, at first, 
finds itself in absolute control; but at an early 
stage its supremacy is disputed. The generative 
instinct, even in the simplest forms of life, emerges 
not as a modified form of the will to live, but 
as a principle antagonistic to it. It 'does indeed 
result in the perpetuation of life, but that result 
is not the motive that impels to the satisfaction 
of it. On the contrary, it always involves a sacri- 
fice of a portion of that vitality that has been 
stored up by the antecedent instinct. When 
an amoeba, grown large with abundant nutrition, 
sets off from itself another quite independent 
organism that goes its separate way, it is not the 


continued action of the will to live that is operat- 
ing, it is a totally different instinct, — one that 
involves self-surrender, self-depletion. It gives 
half of itself away for the satisfaction of an in- 
stinct that it does not in the least understand. 

Whether such separation is attended with 
birth-pangs, or not, we cannot know. But we 
do know that, as we ascend the scale of being 
parturition and maternity are everywhere accom- 
panied by suffering and sacrifice, and by a partial 
surrender of the life that has been so carefully 
guarded and valiantly fought for. And this 
element of surrender, of freely giving away that 
which has been hitherto husbanded, is illustrated 
as fully in the vegetable world as in the animal. 

Let us consider the history of a tree. "It divides 
itself into two epochs, each of which is dominated 
by a process seemingly the reverse of that which 
prevailed in the other. In the first period, self- 
assertion is the rule. The struggle for existence, 
at the expense of every surrounding thing that 
can be of use to it, is the apparent end and 
exhaustive expression of its activities. It robs 
the soil, it contests the possession of territory 
with other forms of vegetable life. It over- 
shadows and destroys many weaker relations 
on its way to prosperity. Its roots burrow far 
and near, contending with other roots for every 
morsel of nourishment. It is, in fact, a greedy, 
insatiable thing that gets all it can, but never 
parts with any of its strength. But when this 


has been going on for years — for decades per- 
haps — a most wonderful thing takes place; a 
flower makes its appearance. 

"Were our experience limited to the growth 
of a single tree, the advent of this beautiful and 
marvellously adapted organism would be a thing 
utterly strange and unaccountable in connection 
with the tree that had hitherto borne nothing 
but leaves. But, more wonderful than the miracle 
of the flower, is the miracle of the process which it 
ushers in, a process the reverse of that which 
has hitherto characterized the tree. That which 
has been accumulated is now freely given up, 
and the energies of the plant are henceforth 
largely diverted into the production of that 
which is soon to be separated and altogether 
estranged from the producer. The whole process 
of flowering and seed-bearing is of the nature of 
a free surrender of life-substance in such a way 
that no return can ever be received. With 
many plants it is the giving up of all their life. 
They perish when the process is finished. In 
every case it is exhausting, and growth is inter- 
rupted by it."* 

Recurring now to our formula and recalling 
the definition of salvation as the progressive 
realization of the highest possibilities of our being, 
it will be seen that its appeal emanates from an 
instinct that overarches and includes within 
itself many other instincts. Not that it is the 

* "What is Reality?" p. 477. 


latest developed, but that it retains its position 
of authority always. Other instincts emerge to 
which it must adjust itself, but it assimilates 
and uses them in the prosecution of its own never- 
ending work. We have already alluded to this 
overarching instinct as that of self-realization. 

This is, in its own right, a master-instinct of 
human evolution. At its advent man becomes 
man. We cannot say that it is absolutely want- 
ing in the races below man, but, in him, it assumes 
an importance and sway that obliges us to recog- 
nize in it the motive power of human education, 
the dynamic that drives the human machinery, 
individual and social, toward some unknown 
state of being, a fuller realization of powers and 
aptitudes, the nature of which is, as yet, only 
foreshadowed. That man is, or may be, some- 
thing vastly superior to what he now is, is the 
constant implication of the pressure that moves 
him and often drives him along the way of a 
larger life. It makes use of intelligence, while it 
transcends it ; and the idealizing faculty is its con- 
stant and necessary coadjutor. 

This, a most distinctively human attribute, is 
at all times the light which determines the direc- 
tion of energy. It points out to the imagination 
some object, or goal, to be striven for, invests 
it with a dazzling attractiveness, makes it seem 
the one thing to be desired, and on it the passion 
for self-realization fastens and concentrates. It 
is not an infallible guide. In fact men are fond 


of calling it an ignis fatuus. It is for ever dis- 
appointing and, the disappointed ones often say, 
"betraying" those who follow its lead. But, 
for all that, it is the indispensable condition of 
human progress. It breeds desire in men and 
lures them to arduous undertakings. Breaking 
up contentment with an assured routine which, 
in the animals below man, terminates develop- 
ment, it generates a self-impelling force that 
drives them up steep and rugged ways, seeking 
new outlets for their energy. 

Now let us observe that, under the sway of 
the ideal, the instinct of self-realization becomes 
itself transformed. At first, and through much 
of its career, it works in harmony with the prin- 
ciple of self-preservation, or the will to live, but 
at innumerable points, as the process advances, 
it runs counter to it and restrains it. Self-preser- 
vation has regard to the continuance of the present 
state. It is conservative, takes no unnecessary 
risks, conforms to that which has been and is. 
Self-realization is impatient of that which is. 
Cognizant of the ideal future, it gladly takes 
risks in the hope of realizing it. "He that 
saveth his life shall lose it" is its answer to the 
prudent counsels of the older instinct. 

Schopenhauer's "will to live" becomes, in his 
hands, a principle of insatiable progressiveness 
only because he transcends his formula, identifying 
it with the will to an ever-increasing, extending, 
superabundant life. And when Nietzsche en- 


larges the outlook by his phrase, "the will to 
power/' it is that he feels the insufficiency of the 
preceding formula. It is an admission of inade- 
quacy, but a very meagre one. The instinct 
that urges to self-realization does, sometimes, 
take the form of a will to power. But this is 
only one of an innumerable number of quests 
that draw men out of themselves and make them 
impatient of mere existence. And what is more, 
it is far from being the noblest, or most satisfying. 
A distinguishing characteristic of the life to 
which self-realization, combined with the idealiz- 
ing faculty, introduces men is its manifoldness, — 
the divergence of the ways by which it leads them 
to transcend themselves. The tribes below man 
are most restricted as to the means of gratifying 
their instincts. They are narrowly hemmed in 
by circumstance. The way in which they must 
walk is clearly indicated at every step. Primitive 
man is in much the same predicament. But, 
when intelligence has enlarged the field of possi- 
bilities, multiplied the avenues and the modes 
of realization, the element of discriminating 
selection supervenes to complicate and dignify 
the situation. It is at this point that man be- 
comes, in a measure, a law unto himself. The 
world is, so to speak, before him, he is the arbiter 
of his own fortunes. The kinds of man that he 
may be, the kinds that he is solicited and perhaps 
importuned to be, depend largely on his tempera- 
ment, his natural endowments, and his social 


setting. But there are few who are not drawn 
in more than one direction. 

The value and boundlessness of this race 
inheritance dawns very gradually upon human 
consciousness. One of the emotions engendered, 
as man emerges from the enthralment of the 
mere struggle for existence, is that of exultation 
in newly discovered powers; and hero-worship is 
the result. Every exceptionally great man is 
an embodiment of the perfections possible to 
human nature, and the heart of the worshipper 
swells with pride at the thought of his relation to 
it. Legends of great deeds, epic poems, myth- 
ologic demi-gods, are expressions of it. And this 
primitive mood is also a persistent one, de- 
pressed at times into a minor key, but anon 
swelling again into enthusiasm. At first its 
theme is man's superiority over the beasts who 
are physically stronger than he, then it is the 
triumph of man over man and imaginary monsters, 
and in these later days it is man's subjugation of 
the forces of nature. Now, as at the beginning, 
men are prone to burst into a delirium of rejoicing 
when a representative of the human race scores 
new victories in any direction. 

But, with all its vitality, this mood of self- 
glorification expresses but a small part of the 
change that has been wrought by man's advance 
in the scale of intelligence. It is but the occa- 
sional effervescence from elements that are work- 
ing out serious transformations in the depths of 


his nature. Hardly has he reached the con- 
sciousness of himself as a superior being than he 
discerns in that future of allurements also a land 
of shadows, a land of forbidding possibilities 
where weird shapes pass and repass. Fear, as 
well as hope and exultation have come to stay 
with him. He carries a weight on this higher 
plane of existence that he never knew before. 
His eyes have been opened to the knowledge of 
good and evil. He has become a responsible 
being. His conception of character, of personal 
worth, has begun to develop; and the discernment 
of essentially higher and lower possibilities, that 
are in a measure within his control, steady and 
sober his outlook upon life. 

We cannot wonder that, under the stress and 
anxiety of this higher consciousness, men should 
have been led to contrast unfavorably the higher 
estate with the simpler one of narrower issues, 
that they should have regarded the passage from 
innocence to insight as a fall, that they should 
have looked back with regret and envy upon the 
lot of those whose lives were marked out for them, 
who were firmly led, without knowledge or fore- 
thought, anxiety or misgivings of theirs, into the 
ways that were best for them. The existence 
of a great historic Church that has, through the 
Christian ages, assumed the responsibility of 
giving such a guidance to a world weary of its 
liberty is the standing witness to the exacting 
and trying nature of the higher career, upon which 


human intelligence and the power of moral dis- 
crimination has launched the race. 

Looked at from one point of view, the out- 
come of human evolution is seen to be very evil. 
From the time of his majority on, man has shown 
a most fruitful and perennial aptitude for mis- 
managing his affairs. His career, from the dawn 
of intelligence and moral responsibility to his 
present status, has been marked by blunders and 
insanities of the most far-reaching and tragic 
character. The development of his moral nature 
has produced an appalling amount of wickedness, 
in which the creatures below him in the scale of 
being have no participation. They are unmoral, 
he is immoral. They may be fierce, predatory, 
regardless of the suffering they inflict on others, 
but they are not, like man, knowingly and exult- 
ingly cruel, vicious, devilish; they are not, like 
him, the victims of unbalanced natures and 
conscious degradation. 

To rectify that which is unbalanced, to curb 
the passions that lead to the inordinate develop- 
ment of quests that are properly means to higher 
ends, is the task which occupies man increasingly. 
His salvation is never worked out, but with every 
individual, every form of society, in every age, 
the conflict between the normal and the abnormal, 
moral sanity and moral insanity, growth and 
degeneration, the triumph, or defeat, of the life 
forces that make for a nobler type of being, is 
renewed. And the more complex life becomes, 


the more the power and control of man increases, 
the hotter is the battle between the opposing 
forces of good and evil. In the midst of our 
infinitely varied life of to-day, with its thronging 
incentives and seductions, the call to work out 
one's own salvation is more imperative, more 
stirring, more clearly fraught, on the one hand, 
with the note of hope and of enthusiasm, and on 
the other with that of despair, than in any age 
that has preceded it. There is a breadth and a 
scope to its meaning that it has never had in the 
ages of narrower horizons. 

But what of the night? How goes the com- 
bat? Is the human race losing, or gaining? Are 
individuals battling successfully in the turmoil of 
material interests, that now surge against each 
other and anon combine in a sweeping current 
that is all but irresistible? And this great com- 
plexity which we sometimes call the social organ- 
ism, or, in vaguer phrase, human civilization, 
what shall we say of this? Is it a success? Is it 
moving on to higher and better things? Or is it 
an advanced stage of degeneration, the forerunner 
of anarchy and dissolution? From the standpoint 
of current thought this would seem to be the most 
momentous question of our day, the riddle in which 
every one, from the most buoyant optimist to the 
Cassandras of pessimism, are interested. 

But it is worse than useless to attempt an 
answer to it until we have determined a point 
that, in the logical order, necessarily comes 


before it. What constitutes success in the evo- 
lution of progressive being? Toward what kind 
of a realization on the ascending scale are we, as 
a race, or as individuals, moving? If we make a 
mistake in our answer to this question we may be 
looking fixedly for the truth in the wrong direc- 
tion, gazing into the west to see the sun rise. 



WHAT constitutes success in the evolu- 
tion of progressive being? This ques- 
tion, if considered from the standpoint 
of the individual, would produce a great variety 
of answers, none of which would have anything 
other than a personal value. What we require 
is an answer which, though speculatively reached, 
is the outgrowth of a careful study of the facts of 
the one great process of evolution of which we 
have any knowledge. Our investigation is not 
for the purpose of amusement. It is one of serious 
import. We are making an effort to attain to a 
fuller knowledge of God and of man, and of their 
mutual relations, by ascertaining the end toward 
which both are moving. 

The data for such a forecast must be sought 
both in the relatively near and in the remote past ; 
that is, in the history of evolution that antedates 
the appearance of man, and also in the history of 
human evolution. We must look into the former 
for analogies to guide us in the formation of 



hypotheses, then we must scrutinize the latter to 
see how these hypotheses fare when tested by the 
facts of human experience. The first glance at 
the situation is discouraging. For, so far as we 
can see, many of the distinct advances in the 
process have been sprung upon the world as 
surprises. When a new type has emerged it 
seems to have appeared on the scene suddenly; 
proceeding, probably, from an antecedent form, 
but, as related to it, a monstrosity, a strange crea- 
ture with an enlarged organization and hitherto 
unknown aptitudes and functions. 

The whole course of evolution is marked by 
such new departures, each one of which has run 
its own specialized career and settled down into a 
permanent type, which apparently leads to nothing 
beyond itself. What we see around us is a multi- 
plicity of such arrested developments, each one of 
which seems to signalize a dead-stop in the process. 
Like the branch line of a railway, it has its ter- 
minus, and beyond this there is no thoroughfare. 
There may still be indefinite variation, but the 
type is persistent; that is, the tendency to revert 
to it is far stronger than the departures from 
it and prevails over them. Nothing essentially 
higher than a horse can be bred from a horse by 
successive modifications, nothing essentially higher 
or different from a man can, by ordinary genera- 
tion, be bred from a man. 

But now, taking a wider view of the situation, 
we are rewarded with a principle of continuity 


which is distinctly helpful. While arrested devel- 
opment, indeterminate issues, and degeneration, 
abundantly characterize the great process in its 
details, there is discoverable, from a higher point 
of view, a well-marked through-line of evolution. 
Every higher stage of being is higher in virtue of 
an increased complexity of organization, and it 
is always from the more complex that the next 
higher springs. I am speaking, be it understood, 
of the great movements, the epoch-making ad- 
vances of evolution, — advances like that from 
the inorganic to the organic, from inanimate to 
animate forms, from the non-sentient to the 
sentient, from homogeneous aggregations of living 
beings to complex organizations in which many 
different orders of beings with different functions 
unite to make one highly complex being with one 
central consciousness. So also the advance from 
sedile forms to those capable of moving from 
place to place, and that which distinguishes the 
simplest mode of propagation, by budding or 
segmentation, from that of sexual generation. 

These epoch-making advances mark the main 
course, the through-line of evolution. When a 
great step forward has been made we are justified 
in the assumption that progress is to be looked 
for in this line. There was a time when gill- 
breathing animals were the highest type on earth. 
But when lung-breathing animals appeared, the 
future of evolution was theirs. The structural 
changes that have marked these upward move- 


merits have been many and various, affecting all 
parts of the body. But there is one factor that 
shows a constant increase; that is, the nervous 
system. The enlargement and complexity of 
this characterizes every advanced step. The 
importance of the upward movement when man 
appeared on the scene can hardly be exaggerated, 
though its significance was not in evidence at the 
time of its development. It was, indeed, provided 
for in his structural formation, but as this was 
far in advance of the immediate necessities of a 
being only slightly removed in his habits from the 
creatures just below him, it afforded only a faint 
hint of its future. 

Could there have been a comparative anatomist 
there to study this new type he could have dis- 
covered nothing to make him suspect that a 
radically new chapter in the history of evolution 
had been entered upon. True, the greatly en- 
larged brain-cavity would have been to him the 
prophecy of a being superior to any that had 
hitherto existed. But this advance was in the 
regular line. Here was apparent provision for a 
great increase in the volume and complexity of 
the nervous system. But all the difference indi- 
cated could be summed up in terms of more or 
less, and the whole course of evolution had been 
characterized by the continual increase of this 
particular element. He could not, in the most 
courageous flights of fancy, have approximated 
to the reality of the possibilities that lay dormant 


in that enlarged cerebrum; for the order of crea- 
tion, as it had been hitherto, would have held 
his imagination in leash. 

We are measurably in a similar position. We 
are, more or less, hampered as to the largeness of 
our expectations by the past of human develop- 
ment which we know and can study, and our fore- 
cast of the future is limited, more or less, by the 
belief that what has been will be, with modifica- 
tions. But, there is a vast difference between 
knowing nothing of what human evolution is and 
is to be, and knowing as much as we do, — a differ- 
ence as great as that between absolute darkness 
and twilight. It is not simply that our knowledge 
of the situation is increased, that we are able to 
look back over vast realms of experience and 
achievement that have been gradually realized 
through the effort and cumulative growth of 
generations; it is not alone that we are apprised 
of the fact that all the advances of evolution 
antecedent to man are as nothing in comparison 
with that which his advent signalized. In addition 
to all this knowledge, and of far more importance 
than it, is the training we have received in the 
course of its acquisition. We have learned not 
only how to accumulate knowledge, but how to 
use it, how to bring its parts into relation to each 
other and to organize it for additional conquests. 

And furthermore, our imaginations have been 
trained and disciplined till they have become 
reliable instruments for the construction of a 



hypothetical future. Nor is the use of this 
instructed faculty a matter wholly contingent on 
the will to use it. We needs must construct a 
future for ourselves, whether we will or no. The 
irrepressible speculative instinct streams forth of 
itself in imaginative ventures. It is futile to try 
to repress it. It is our highest privilege to curb, 
direct, and use it. 

To return to the question in hand. The knowl- 
edge that the appearance of man signalized a 
radically new departure in the great process, 
justifies us in the assumption that the next higher 
type will be in the line of human evolution. 

A very pertinent question suggests itself at this 
initial stage of the inquiry, in view of the enormous 
differences which distinguish contemporary from 
primitive man. Do we find any evidence to 
warrant the belief that we have already entered 
upon the higher stage that we are seeking? That 
is, are there indications that a new, distinct species 
has already become a living reality alongside of 
and closely related to the older type from which 
it sprung? We can answer at once that there are 
many developments which seem to point in this 
direction. But their value, as related to other 
evidence, will appear at the end of the discussion 
rather than in the middle of it. In the meantime 
we may carry it with us as an hypothesis that may 
be strengthened, or the reverse, by our investiga- 
tion. We have remarked, in passing, that nothing 
radically different from a man can be expected to 


spring from the genus homo by ordinary generation. 
That is, man's physical structure seems to be as 
fixed as that of any of the animals that surround 

But there is this great difference. There exists 
in man one department of his organization that 
is indeterminate. This department, the nervous 
system, has been the instrumentality through 
which all the advance, from the most primitive 
to the most highly evolved man, has been achieved. 
But all this difference has, from one point of view, 
been realized without giving rise to a new type. 
The cumulative result has not been accomplished 
through the agency of ordinary generation ; it has 
not passed by physical heredity from father to 
son. And, if we must limit ourselves to the defini- 
tion of a new type which this point of view involves, 
we not only have not entered upon its realization, 
but we can find no encouragement for anticipating 
that we ever shall enter upon it. For this defini- 
tion, following analogy, shuts us up to the hypoth- 
esis that somehow and somewhere there will 
emerge from the human race a preternatural 
individual, superior, physically and mentally, to 
man, and that from him a prepotent type will be 
established, producing a race of beings of like 

But all our knowledge of the history of evolution, 
both antecedent and subsequent to the appear- 
ance of man, discourages any such expectation. 
Superior individuals have, it is true, made their 


appearance, all along the line of our social evolu- 
tion, who were as much above the average of 
humanity as the hypothesis demands. There 
have been many such who, if they could have 
reproduced their kind by natural generation, 
would have given us a race of beings as much 
superior to man as he is superior to some of the 
orders next below him. But this has never been 
the case. These qualities are not transmitted in 
any such degree as to build up a new type. There 
is sometimes a modified inheritance through a 
generation or two. But the law that seems to 
dominate the situation is that of reversion to 
type. There is no permanent accumulation of 
qualities registered in human organization. 

Each individual of the race begins life's career 
with a practically similar outfit of instrumental- 
ities, powers, and adaptations. What he becomes, 
depends upon the quality of the organism he has 
inherited, plus his own choices and efforts. He 
may rise far above his progenitors both in acquisi- 
tion and in character, he may build up a physical 
organization of brain-cells that separates him by 
a wide interval from the great multitude of his 
fellow-creatures. By himself he belongs to a 
superior race; but it goes no further. 

Over against this genealogical impass we have 
to set the fact that, with man, another kind of 
heredity has come into the world. Each great 
mind has left behind it a spiritual inheritance, a 
veritable progeny of minds that has conserved and 


transmitted the new factors introduced. Each 
new tendency is represented by a specialized class 
of minds that retains its peculiarities from genera- 
tion to generation. Not far back in our history 
some of these classes were called guilds, and these 
guilds kept as closely to themselves as any well- 
defined species. New blood was at times intro- 
duced, but for the most part they were close 
corporations. But where these visible demarca- 
tions were lacking, the separateness was main- 
tained by natural aptitudes and disabilities. 
Birds of a feather flocked together, assimilated, 
fostered, and perhaps improved upon, their special 

Now if the matter ended here we should have 
made no progress toward the discovery of a new 
persistent human type. These specializations 
are, generally speaking, indeterminate variations 
that are continually commingling and passing 
over into each other, — functional differences 
that leave the human agent simply human. The 
permanent element is really that which has become 
the property of the race. 


The race. — Here again we touch a unity, — 
that is, the conception of a unity, — and the idea 
grows apace and takes shape. All the differentia- 
tion that we have been considering is seen to con- 
verge and find a structural justification as parts 
of that race unity. Each department is seen to 


be an efficient and more or less necessary factor 
in that which we call the social organism. This 
wonderful complex of human constructions has 
come into being as their product. And, at this 
point, biology comes to our aid with an analogy 
that is one of the most luminous of modern dis- 
coveries. It is the a. b. c. of evolution and the 
reader will pardon its recapitulation. 

At the beginning of animated existence the 
unit, the individual, is the single cell, living its 
isolated, independent life and multiplying only 
by dividing itself into two identically similar cells 
which continue to be as absolutely independent 
of each other as the original cell. Then appears 
a marvellous change. There comes a time when 
the new cell, instead of separating from the original 
one, remains connected with it. Many subsequent 
cells do the same, and instead of isolated individ- 
uals we have a community with a certain solidarity 
of interest and mutual support. Then another 
change. This community gives rise to cells of a 
quite different order, which also remain attached 
to it and perform important functions for the 
benefit of the whole community. This gives us 
a rudimentary organism, and the same process, 
repeated over and over again by the production 
of new classes of cells with new functions, each of 
which takes its place in the life of the expanding 
organism helpfully and without disturbance, 
gives us the succession of associated beings that 
culminates in man. 


This process is recapitulated every time a new- 
individual is born into the world, and in the 
history of the formation of civilized society we 
seem to have a repetition of it on a more extended 
scale. This latter is the cumulative outcome of a 
succession of new types of men, each with hitherto 
unknown abilities, insights, and aspirations. Each 
new type has added something to the collective 
life of the race of the nation, which is thus grad- 
ually organized into a solidarity in which every 
part is more or less dependent upon the normal 
activity of all the other parts. 

The exceeding fitness of this analogy has drawn 
from different departments of thought the most 
extreme affirmations of its soundness as the expo- 
nent of reality. One tells us that the nation is 
not only an organism, it is a personality, and a 
moral personality,* while another declares that the 
individual, as related to the social organism, is 
naught but a fragment of social tissue. 

Even though we should think it desirable to 
state the case less absolutely, these affirmations 
embody an element of unquestionable truth. 
The social organism is an actuality, it is a real 
entity, a great living, expanding, energizing, pro- 
gressive reality. It is, from one point of view, 
the product of human activity, but it is equally 
true that the great achievements of the race are 
its outcome and are dependent upon it. In it 
we live and move and have our being, and it is 
* "The Nation," by Elijah Mulford, 


clearly advancing to still greater complexities of 

So impressive is this view of the situation, so 
fraught with the anticipation of great future 
developments, that many, in our day, would have 
us rest the case here. What need is there to look 
further when an unfinished work of such magni- 
tude is committed to us? Is it not folly to try to 
look beyond it when we can as yet hardly begin 
to see what is contained in it? Can we afford to 
deplete our energies and our enthusiasm in the 
contemplation of that which is far off, uncertain, 
and vague, when more than we can command of 
these is required for the prosecution of the work 
in the midst of which we find ourselves, battling, 
as it were, for very life? 

The answer to this view seems to me capable 
of statement in very few words, and so, because it 
is simply a marked illustration of that infirmity 
or rather immaturity of judgment that has been 
in all stages of human evolution one of the greatest 
obstacles to progress; namely, short-sightedness. 
All along the course we can see that this has 
worked, both in individuals and in society, for the 
production of arrested development. The vice of 
modern society has been said to be, living too ex- 
clusively in and for the present, or the immediate, 
that which seems just a little way beyond us. 
And in all ages the mistake of mistakes has been 
that of substituting means for ends, — seeing in 
the instrumentalities of life the ultimate goal for 


which it is worth while to give up our whole lives. 
We can see, as we survey the lower planes of 
human effort and ambition, how this mistake, 
embodying often a large element of wilfulness, 
has led to the wreck of individual lives full 
of high possibilities, how it has extinguished in 
disillusion and despair the light that might have 
shone with an ever-increasing brightness, how it 
has submerged in deepest gloom souls that were 
constituted for progressive happiness. 

The social organism, stupendous reality that it 
is, cannot be the goal of evolution, the final end 
toward which the process moves. It cannot be, 
first, because we can see through it and beyond it; 
second, because there is nothing in it, or in its 
tendencies, to suggest a fruition worthy of the 
great process, and third, because its adjustments 
and its working, from first to last, seem to imply 
an order to which perfection is impossible. When 
we try to forecast a future in which the social 
organism is to figure as the culmination of the 
process that has brought forth man, we are not 
only hopelessly bewildered in a maze of conflicting 
issues, but, when we have tasked our imaginations 
to the utmost, their best presentations seem but a 
mockery of the ideals that have loomed large in 
the vision of prophets and poets, — a satire on 
the laborious, long-drawn-out warfare that has 
led up to them. The light fades out of our Utopias 
even while we gaze at them, and they are seen to 
be cold, passionless things. 


What then shall we make of this great reality? 
If the social order is not the final goal of evolution, 
what explanation of it can we find? Is there any 
conceivable end, sufficiently important and valu- 
able, to figure as the justification of this great 
stream of elaborately organized energy? 

There is, it seems to me, one, and only one, 
that meets the requirement; and one word ex- 
presses it — education. Etymologically this word 
is closely allied to evolution, but it carries a much 
higher significance in that it calls attention to 
the advanced reaches of the great process, while 
the word evolution has always been associated with 
its earlier stages. Evolution has, from the be- 
ginning, been a word of offence to those whose 
interest in the world's becoming has centred in its 
latest products, for it seems to implicate the whole 
of reality in the category of blind forces. The 
word education, on the other hand, affirms and 
emphasizes intelligence and the development of 
character through discipline. The former sug- 
gests the unconscious, mechanical aspect of nature, 
the latter a more or less conscious process under 
the guidance of a higher intelligence. 

I am speaking, be it understood, of education in 
the most comprehensive sense; that is, the sense in 
which the whole development of the human race, 
individual, social, political, and religious, may be 
construed as an education. The conditions of 
that education, its environment, the problems to 
be worked out, the means and instrumentalities 


to be employed, the agents to be educated, have 
been supplied and brought into relation to each 
other by the supreme intelligence that works in 
all nature. In the earlier stages the individual 
knows nothing of what his existence means nor 
whither it tends. Nevertheless an important 
work is going on within him. The conditions in 
which he finds himself necessitate effort and war- 
fare for the salvation of the body, and this body is 
of such a nature that effort and conflict increase 
its wants and, at the same time, its power of ac- 

At every step of the way, the organism, both 
social and individual, encounters new problems 
to be solved, new difficulties to be overcome. 
In every relation of life it is sorely tested and 
stimulated. It is often a severe discipline. The 
fact that it is an upward career is made painfully 
apparent. The human spirit often faints before 
what is required of it. It cannot cast itself loose 
from the lower creature from which it has sprung. 
It is dependent upon it; and its demands, often 
imperious, have to be listened to and provided 
for and at the same time regulated, controlled, 
governed, in a word, educated. 

The history of this upward career of the human 
race presents many points of view. It is a war- 
fare, it is a conquest, it is a triumph; it is also a 
defeat, a long-drawn-out story of loss, degenera- 
tion, tragedy. The law of increase for those who 
face the situation and fight the good fight is offset 


by the law of loss. Powers and opportunities 
are forfeited by those who refuse. The upward 
way means hardship, labour, patience, endurance, 
suffering. It means also joy, exhilaration, peace 
with oneself, in a word, abiding happiness. The 
two are mingled. The disciplinary part is not, 
in most lives, an uninterrupted strain that breaks 
the spirit. The reward of activity and earnest 
striving is closely associated with it. The com- 
pensations of life are not postponed to some far-off 
event of the future, they are, in the great majority 
of experiences, immediate. Life is a thing worth 
cherishing for its own sake, even though it fall 
short of the fullest salvation, — the realization of 
the highest things possible. 

To study and understand this method, so 
amply illustrated in human history, is to study 
and to understand the great intelligence that 
has instituted it. He has declared Himself in it 
more fully than in any other department of His 
creation; and, in our own painfully developing 
science of education, we have the sole key to its 

Let us then make the hypothesis that the social 
organism is the embodiment of an educational 
process, — a great training school, broadly planned 
and firmly administered by a higher intelligence; 
a school of discipline calculated to stimulate and 
draw out innate powers, to forge character through 
grappling with and overcoming difficulties; a 
curriculum for elevating, expanding, purging, 


purifying humanity, — not, perhaps, the whole 
human race, but the survivors of it, those who, 
with the help of a power-not-themselves, work 
out their own salvation. Not that this concept 
will at once solve all our difficulties. The terms 
of the hypothesis forbid this. For if the provi- 
sions made for the education of man are the out- 
come of an intelligence higher than his, it follows 
that there will be some adjustments, some relations 
of more or less, that he cannot altogether explain. 
But so far as the general scope and intention is 
concerned, the truth of this interpretation will, I 
think, appear increasingly as we study it and 
submit the realities of history and current experi- 
ence to it. 



WHEN we were outlining the analogy 
which exhibits the points of resem- 
blance between the evolution of a 
human body and that of the social organism, our 
attention was directed collectively to all the 
classes of cells that contribute of their diversity 
to the organized unity. The contrasts of form 
and function which these different orders present 
are an apt illustration of the diversities of tempera- 
ment, aptitude, ability, ambition, and function 
with which we are familiar in the human con- 
stituents of society. But now, having passed from 
the study of the constitution of the social order to 
the question of its meaning, we may contract the 
field, and avail ourselves of the analogies afforded 
by one department, or class, of these cells. 

The nervous system is marked off from all the 
other organic agencies that serve a human body 
by radical peculiarities. It is as much above all 
the others in the scale of being as man is above 
the creatures of mechanical routine. As matter 
of fact the great differences which exist between 



the different orders of animals are largely condi- 
tioned upon the gradual expansion and complexity 
of organization in this department. It is the 
only department in which there is continual 
change, in which there is a progressive creation of 
new forms with higher functions, and in which 
there is a clearly defined subordination of orders 
which have been successively developed. 

" Every tissue of the body," we are told, " ex- 
cept the nervous tissue, has but one dead level 
of function. No one bone, or bone-cell, has any 
higher rank than another bone or bone-cell, any 
more than one brick in a building is of a higher, 
or more important grade, than another brick, 
simply because it is put above, or below."* In 
the nervous system, on the contrary, there is, 
just as in human society, a higher and a lower 
order, a governing and a governed, a class that 
directs and controls, and, on the other hand, 
subordinate classes that carry into effect. These 
latter were the first in the order of evolution. 
They constituted the original, comparatively 
simple nervous system, which responded almost 
automatically to external stimuli. But, with the 
ascent of the biological scale, a superior class of 
cells emerged to take charge of the more complex 
situation. It is the office of these cells to organ- 
ize, direct, control, and educate those lower in 
the scale. 

* " Brain and Personality," by W. Hanna Thomson, M.D., 
LL.D., p. 137. 


With reference to this aspect of cell-life the 
author just quoted writes as follows: "In study- 
ing the development of a nervous system from a 
physiological point of view, the first principle 
discernible as governing that development is what, 
in any other connection, we should term discipline, 
and we cannot do better than to note how the 
conceptions suggested by that word are applicable 
to our subject." * In pursuance of this applica- 
tion Dr. Thomson represents the superior grey 
motor-cells of the surface of the brain saying to 
the grey motor-cells of the spinal cord, "You 
were the original nervous system, to be sure, just 
as there were horses before there were men to 
ride them, but since I have come, I am above and 
you are below, and as it is, it took long, patient 
training and a great deal of trouble to break you 
in to my service so that you would act according 
to my orders."! 

Somehow, in response to the persistently re- 
peated action of uniform stimuli proceeding from 
the superior afferent nerves, there are formed what 
are called nerve-centres, or ganglia, character- 
ized by an ever-increasing complexity of organiza- 
tion and function. These are the physical basis 
of habits. By oft-repeated stimuli the nerve- 
centres have been organized and trained to 
respond through the efferent nervous system in 
an orderly and uniform way. The results are 
varied, because the organization is as complex as 

* Ibid., p. 134. t Ibid., p. 139. 


the needs of the organism which it serves. All 
our vital functions, like breathing, the beating of 
the heart, etc., are carried on automatically by 
these nerve-centres that have been trained to 
habitual action. By what adaptive intelligence 
these wonderfully complex instrumentalities have 
been called into existence, in response to afferent- 
nerve stimuli, no physiologist can begin to tell 
us. In the whole process we have to recognize a 
creative power working with the co-operative 
microscopic beings which we call nerve-cells. 

Here, as elsewhere, we discern that power 
working, not by itself upon unresponding inactive 
material, but, always in conjunction with and 
through active agents. And here again, as else- 
where, we find the creative process not only a 
gradual, but also an educative one. The devel- 
opment of the co-operating cell, even though 
microscopic, seems to be one of the ends in 
view, though never the final end. Each indi- 
vidual in the series is tributary to a collective 
life and efficiency beyond itself, and each unit 
of organization so formed is again tributary to a 
higher organization which subserves ends of larger 
significance and value. 

All the nervous centres of which we have spoken, 
each one a most elaborate system in itself, are 
spheres of organized influence that have been so 
trained to habitual correspondence and harmony 
of action that they, in connection with the afferent 
stimuli from the outside world, carry on the opera- 


tions of the different vital processes in a normal 
body without friction, hesitation, or disturbance 
of any kind. They work each one silently and 
effectively; and so perfectly equal are they to 
every change of adjustment, necessitated by 
change of environment, that we ordinarily take 
no note of them. But, with all this elaborate- 
ness and perfection, they are but factors in a 
grander organization, that of the human body as 
a whole, which, from the higher point of view, is 
seen to be the end for which they have been created 
and educated. Each one fits into its place in 
that higher unity, subordinates itself to its re- 
quirements, works harmoniously with all the other 
departments, and thus prepares a perfected living 
mechanism to be taken possession of by that 
wonder of all wonders, — a human consciousness. 
Where does this new factor, this new controlling 
agent, come from? How does this one, conscious, 
intelligent, commanding personality spring from 
the multiplicity with which it is vitally connected 
and over which it is placed in authority? Does it- 
spring from it at all? May it not be a being of a 
different order sent from some higher centre of 
power, like the governor of a dependent province, 
to look after and be responsible for its interests? 
Whatever the truth may be from an ontological 
point of view, this latter conception, from a 
practical point of view, fits the situation in some 
important respects. True, the new-comer is not, 
at his advent, in control of the situation. He is 


not at first the educator, but the educated. The 
whole complex organism with which he has to do 
and on which he is dependent is in perfect run- 
ning order when he comes on the scene. It has, 
so to speak, a vast experience as related to his 
inexperience. He has at first to be its pupil, 
and only gradually reaches a position of knowl- 
edge and mastery that fits him to assume the 

But, when this stage has been reached, it is 
manifest that he is the end for which all this 
wonderful complexity of organization has been 
elaborated. Human history is the record of the 
use that individually and collectively he has made 
of his power. It is not, however, to the external 
evidences of his achievements that our attention 
must be directed in this connection, but to the 
more intimate, internal relations sustained to the 
world of nerve-cells and centres which he not 
only administers and governs, but the organ- 
ization of which he has immensely extended. 
Acquired faculties come to the birth, are organ- 
ized, trained, and perfected by this dominating 
personality, and each one of these is physically 
represented by a special community of nerve-cells. 

Until the formation of these acquired faculties 
there is great uniformity in the nervous system 
of different men. But, from this on, there is the 
widest diversity. The majority of men build 
up for themselves the faculty of expressing 
themselves in language. Many organize the cell 


combinations that enable them to interpret 
written signs and those that give them the 
power of expression by the same means. Be- 
yond these acquisitions the nervous systems of 
individuals become separated by very great 
divergencies. One constructs within his cere- 
brum a veritable laboratory for the working 
out of physical problems, another a study stored 
with volumes for the writing of history or 
philosophy; another has acquired an organiza- 
tion that makes him a wonderful dancer. Every 
man who composes music, or who renders it 
by his skill as a vocalist or instrumentalist, 
has built up for himself a special organism of 
his own for his personal use. So also every 
one who has developed skill in any kind of 
occupation, handicraft, or interest has, by direct- 
ing attention and effort in a given direction, 
modified the nervous mechanism that he has 

In all this diversity we see the results of human 
educational methods persistently directed to spe- 
cial ends. But when, advancing a step farther, 
we look at all these results collectively, and seek 
to carry out our analogy by the discovery of a 
still higher unity, to which they are all organically 
related, we find ourselves at a loss. For it is a 
unity of personality that we are seeking; and this 
the social organism does not give us. All its values 
have to be estimated in terms of the human in- 
dividual. Its usefulness, its opportunities, its 


happiness are nothing except as they are realized 
by its separate constituents. It is indeed a most 
valuable instrumentality for the furtherance of 
human interests, of human discipline, of human 
education, but it is nothing more. 

Another step is necessary. We have seen that, 
when the organization of the human body 
reached a certain stage of perfection, there 
appeared, from some unknown source, a mysteri- 
ous being vitally connected with it, that took 
possession of it, ruled, disciplined, and formed 
it. Let us make the hypothesis that some such 
being exists who sustains to the social organism 
relations similar to the above, — that the human 
race, as a whole, is related to this being, somewhat 
as the nervous system of a man is related to his 
central consciousness and will. This hypothesis 
not only completes the analogy, but it completes 
and satisfies the requirements of the great process, 
the coming stage of which we seek to formulate. 

For clearness of thought, we may once more 
narrow the field of our analogy. We will assume 
that the Supreme Being is related to the human 
race as a human person is related to some one 
of the special faculties that he has created and 
trained for his own use. This places no limitation 
upon the thought of the Supreme One. We are 
but a department of His universe, one of His 
interests. It has, on the other hand, the advantage 
of illustrating, by a natural process, the fact and 
the method of our creation by Him and, further, 


of His continued superintendence and co-opera- 
tion at all stages of the process. 

The history of any one of our brain specializa- 
tions would serve our purpose, but I will choose 
that of music, not alone because it is one of the 
most elaborate and clearly set forth as to its 
processes in our consciousness, but also because 
it ranges from the most ordinary levels of experi- 
ence, through every phase, to the most trans- 
cendent. We can, therefore, trace the process of 
education, mark its stages, and see how each one 
leads up to that which is intrinsically higher on 
the scale of natures and values. There is a 
foundation for music in our physical organiza- 
tions which antedates any action of ours with 
regard to it. Its beginnings are matters of vibra- 
tions, outside the organism, which are responded 
to by afferent nerves and conveyed to a centre 
where they come into consciousness. There is 
no music until this consciousness has been reached 
and made a participating factor with the nerve- 
stimuli that have led up to it, and it is only when 
attention has focalized this consciousness that the 
process of cell education in which we are interested 

The first steps are experiments in sounds and 
sound combinations. These are selected from, 
remembered, repeated with pleasure, varied, ex- 
panded, organized. A chord is a distinct achieve- 
ment, a tune is a wonderful accomplishment. 
Each has a raison d'etre and completeness in itself. 


But music does not stop there. As we follow 
the course of its evolution from these simple 
beginnings through a long and elaborate develop- 
ment as a great science and art, we find ourselves 
contemplating a microcosm of diversified agencies 
which has a certain completeness in itself, but 
also an incompleteness, a lack of finality, in view 
of a larger unity into which it may enter as a 
factor. The player on a violin has constructed a 
wonderful nerve-organism which responds to his 
bidding alone. He may be very great as a soloist. 
So also a symphony by a great master is a crea- 
tion that stands out clear in its separateness as 
a finality. It has its own completeness. But 
every soloist, composer, and composition is also 
a link in an endless chain of development. 

Even when we contemplate this great depart- 
ment of human achievement as a whole we may 
take very narrow views of it. It is in one aspect 
a science, and all its agencies and outcomes may 
be expressed in the terms of science. In another 
aspect it is an art, to be judged and regulated 
and cultivated in accordance with the canons of 
art. But, in a higher sense, it is a medium of 
expression for the most exalted thought and feel- 
ing. And, more than this, it passes over from 
the role of instrumentality to that of leadership 
and becomes the pioneer in realms that transcend 
our experience. It carries us whither no language 
can follow it; it becomes a most potent revealer 
of the ideal. 


But, in the face of this grand reality of develop- 
ment, we have to recognize the fact that all great 
musical creations, both as regards composition 
and performance, have to come back to the 
individual, the human person, for their origin and 
for their interpretation. Unless we recognize the 
existence of a higher personality in whom all 
these human combinations centre and find their 
meaning, they are unattached, floating, evanescent 
dreams, vaporous emanations from the persons 
with whom we can connect them. They are 
human personality rendered with variations, and 
not to be taken seriously. 

Just so, when we contemplate the more com- 
prehensive social organism. There is before us 
a most impressive world of reality that has come 
into existence as the result of the corporate life 
of innumerable human beings. But the origin 
and significance of it all, unless we postulate some 
higher personality, must be referred back to hu- 
man persons. We cannot say that it centres 
in them, for it finds no centre, no interpretation 
in the little world out of which it has sprung 
and which it has far transcended. The corporate 
life that so strongly suggests an organism has no 
real unity in itself. It foreshadows such a unity, 
preaches it to us every day of our lives by its 
manifest tendencies, its repetition of analogies, 
its unattached, inconclusive, unmeaning issues, 
its constant demands for a realization that cannot 


be supplied. But the moment we supply that 
missing factor of a superior being, to whom we 
sustain vital relations, the situation is transformed. 
Order emerges, the unmeaning finds its perfect 
solution, the unattached its fitting attachments, 
the unfulfilled its way of fulfilment. 

As in the field of music all the curiously formed 
instruments for its production, all the elaborate 
nerve-organisms in myriads of individuals for its 
understanding and its rendering, all the great 
compositions and orchestras and composers, are 
seen to be, in their wider relations, only instru- 
mentalities for the development and education 
of the human soul as related to the supreme soul, 
so the great corporate life of humanity as a whole 
is seen to be pre-eminently and essentially a great 
training school by which the human is led up to 
a progressive comprehension of and union with 
the divine. 

In the knowledge of our relations to that higher 
life we first begin really to live. We project our- 
selves, our thoughts, our hopes, our ambitions, 
our affections, all that is highest and best in our 
aspirations, into that larger life, to which we are 
tributary, of which we are part, which we can 
serve, whose battles we can help to fight, toward 
which all our emotions of loyalty and love and 
worship may find their full and inexhaustible 
satisfaction. This is not a future to which we 
are looking forward, a life to be lived in another 
world. It is the living present. The life that 


has hitherto found its attachments only in hu- 
man persons and interests is transformed by it, 
becomes, in embryo, that of a new creature. 

But now, let us ask, how does this affect our 
conception of and our attitude toward the social 
organism? Does it become a thing of small 
importance in our eyes because we have found 
out that it is not the final end of existence? On 
the contrary, our discovery invests it for the first 
time with elements of nobility and with values of 
incalculable significance; for it is vitally related to 
a transcendent life in which we find the meaning 
and fulfilment of ours. It is the instrumentality, 
the school organized by infinite wisdom, to educate 
us for that life. But, while it is this, it has, at the 
same time, a significance and completeness of its 
own. It is an interest to be lived for on its own 
account, since we, also, are its makers and 
measurably responsible for it. 

It is the joint outcome of the co-operative 
working of God and man within that environ- 
ment of uniformity which we call the order of 
nature. It is ordained of God, it is built up by 
man, half blindly, half intelligently, in response 
to constraining influences that he dimly recognizes. 
We cannot definitely analyze this co-operative 
working. We cannot say God has worked alone 
here, man has worked alone there, or that, in this 
other matter, they have worked together. Under 
the guidance of analogy we construe the great 
stream of uniform influences as the habitual 


working of the Divine Wisdom in conformity to 
the nature of things. And at certain points we 
think we recognize the initiative of the divine, or 
of the human, in new departures. 


Let us now return to trace, along the line of our 
analogy, the development of the social organism 
and some of its characteristics. For the same 
analogy that we have used to illustrate the con- 
stitution of the social order throws light upon the 
process of its becoming. 

That stage of evolution which is represented 
by a community of cells, each one of which closely 
resembles every other, is a striking illustration 
of primitive society. One man may differ from 
another in his power of domination, but this is a 
matter of degree, not of radical difference. It is 
only when a man arises possessed of a new idea, 
a hitherto non-existent formation of brain, that 
the differentiation on which the social order is 
based begins. When such a man appears, he is, 
as related to the uniformity which surrounds him, 
a freak of nature, and he is so regarded by his 
fellows. They may worship him, but that is 
usually an afterthought. At first they are inclined 
to fear and persecute him. He is abnormal and 
not to be tolerated. Sometimes he is dragged 
outside the camp and stoned; sometimes he is 
permitted to live out his life with his developing 
idea for company. 


In this latter case he sometimes leaves behind 
him a permanent modification of primitive con- 
ditions. He has brought forth something, some 
invention, or some thought, the value of which 
others have recognized and which enters into the 
race as a new, persistent factor. Every repetition 
of this process makes the nascent society a little 
more complex, and we seem to see in it a rehearsal 
of that orderly succession of creations by which 
the human body has come to be what it is. 

But the whole process is different in that we 
can more clearly trace, all the way along, the 
influence of each of the associated agencies that 
have been at work. So far as details are concerned 
we are often in doubt, but of certain main ten- 
dencies we can be tolerably sure. The initiative 
of the whole movement must be traced to that 
instinct, that passion for self-realization, which 
distinguishes man from all that is not man. This 
God-implanted instinct is the source of all human 
development, social as well as individual. The 
new growth has been along individual lines, but 
the organization has been largely effected by non- 
human constraining influences. Only at a some- 
what advanced stage of the process does man 
begin to be conscious of the social order as some- 
thing which he has had a hand in creating and 
for which he is in a measure responsible. But if, 
with this discovery, he jumps to the conclusion 
that he is the sole author of it and that he can 
destroy with impunity that which he has uncon- 


sciously constructed, he is labouring under a fatal 

The principles of this social order are the 
outcome of a wisdom far exceeding his, and 
experience teaches him that they are as stable and 
as coercive as the fundamental laws of nature. 
They are, in fact, no other than what we call the 
laws of nature. The social order is the natural 
order. There is a certain amount of elasticity to 
it. Important modifications in the adjustment 
of its details are possible and desirable. It is the 
problem of our lives to study and find out how 
best to make them. But we cannot go far in any 
direction without coming up against principles, to 
violate which means only social annihilation. 

We have the same kind of liberty under the 
unwritten laws of organized society that we have 
under the laws of agriculture, or the laws that 
govern the well-being of a human body. We can 
accomplish great things while we work in harmony 
with these laws, supplementing, guiding, control- 
ling their action, but if we disregard them, they 
work against instead of for us. It is not difficult 
for us to draw up, from the standpoint of what we 
think ought to be and might be, a formidable ar- 
raignment of the situation in which the human race 
finds itself. It is easy to show how things might 
have been more wisely arranged. But, when our 
radically new devices are put to the test of human 
experience, we are continually scourged back to the 
methods which we had thought to supersede. 


The training school organized by an intelligence 
higher than ours, whatever may be said in criticism 
of it, works better than our inventions, and the 
curriculum of experience is recognized, in the long 
run, as the only thoroughly trustworthy one. It 
is severe, but it is effective. It has produced and 
is continually producing tragic failures, it involves 
much incidental suffering; but, on the other hand, 
everything that is of value in human life and 
thought and feeling is its outcome. Life is good 
for nothing when we once get out of this school 
of character. True, one of the great incentives 
to human effort is to get out of it, to achieve an 
independence of its coercions and become each one 
his own master. But if, when we have thrown 
off the harness of necessity, we neglect to harness 
ourselves, in some sort, the zest and the value of 
life is gone. We must lay hold of some worthy 
interest and make it ours, fall in love with some 
end, or ideal, to which we can give a whole-souled 
devotion, otherwise, there sets in a natural de- 
generation, physical, mental, and spiritual; in 
fact, we begin to die. 

By rising above the coercions of necessity we 
have only entered an advanced form, a higher 
grade, — a most perilous situation for those who 
are not alive to its opportunities and responsi- 
bilities. We shall never, perhaps, at least from 
our present plane of existence, be able to see why 
the tasks set in the great school might not have 
been made something less severe, the assistance 


given to those on the verge of discouragement 
more timely. And, from the standpoint of this 
inability to fathom the ways of the Almighty, the 
most searching questions are urged upon those 
who would defend the doctrine of the goodness 
of God. 

Why, it is asked, if a benevolent intelligence is 
responsible for the existing order, was the true 
and normal way of living left in such obscurity 
and made so perilously difficult? Why has man, 
formed for intelligence, for morality, for happi- 
ness, been so long on his blundering way to a 
realization that ever recedes before him? Could 
not man and his environment have been so 
adjusted to each other as to ensure prosperity, 
peace, tranquillity, contentment, and the kindly 
relations between man and man that naturally 
flow from such a condition of things? 

To put it reasonably, why was not the human 
race, from the beginning, so constituted and so 
related to its environment that a form of society 
like the best that we have realized and proved 
to be possible should have been quickly reached 
and retained? Why were the abnormal ways of 
squandering life made so attractive? Why were 
the right and the wrong so inextricably mixed up 
that nothing seems altogether right or altogether 
wrong, but only a matter of degree, of more or 
less, of moderation or excess? Why should the 
way of honest ambition, the impulse to realize 
our powers, sweep us, so often under full headway, 



to a moral catastrophe? Why is the civilized 
world to-day, with all its long experience and 
conflicts, its many and exhausting attempts to 
improve itself, in a condition that in some ways 
seems more difficult and more hopeless, in its 
ever-increasing complexity, than in the days of 
its greater simplicity? 

These are tremendous questions, and it is 
neither useless nor impious for us to ask them. 
God, Who has formed us not to be dumb, driven 
cattle, must intend us to ask them and to work 
at the solution of the problems they suggest. We 
may be very sure that none of the answers we 
give will be final, that the future of the world 
will modify them, but we may be sure also that 
we shall continually move toward a solution so 
long as we stick to the hypothesis that exhibits 
the existing social order as a great training school. 
Whatever else it may be, it certainly is this; and 
by the recognition of the fact, every one of these 
questions is, so to speak, loosened. The hard 
knots into which the reverse hypothesis has drawn 
them give way. The gravest difficulties of the 
situation are seen to have their ground in an 
unwarranted assumption, — the assumption, that 
is, that the end of social evolution is, or ought to 
be, the comfort, the happiness, the freedom from 
care, anxiety, or friction of the whole community. 

Our view of the situation sees in the absence of 
contentment, of completeness, and of peace the 
conditions that make for the highest well-being 


of the race. The greatest gifts, those of inex- 
haustible value to humanity, are its wants, its 
dissatisfactions. All those things that we have 
been demanding as our moral right are seen to be 
the prizes held up to stimulate our efforts, they 
are purposely put beyond our reach, with all sorts 
of difficulties to be overcome before we can enter 
upon the enjoyment of them. And this, because 
the great end to be attained is not our enjoyment 
of them, but the development of man into a 
creature of a nobler and higher type. 

Except for the briefest intervals we never 
quite overtake our dreams of happiness. The 
permanency they seemed to promise is never 
realized. It is always the beyond that we live 
for and worship. We are by nature insatiable, 
and the world in which we live is wonderfully 
well calculated to stimulate our desires and lure 
us on. And what is true of the individual is 
equally true, and of the same significance, in the 
evolution of the social order. 

The dreams of a perfected social organism, of a 
millennium of peace and tranquillity, of social 
equality and fraternity, in which every one is 
satisfied, bear the same relation to reality that is 
born by those other visions that sometimes keep 
the individual man steady to one purpose through 
a lifetime for the realization of a condition that 
never materializes. Neither in the one case nor 
in the other, are these dreams realities to be pos- 
sessed and enjoyed. They are ideals to be 



worked for, ideals adjusted to our very limited 
understanding. And being so adjusted, they are 
continually readjusting themselves as we approach 
and seem about to grasp them. 

Is this world then all a system of cleverly 
framed delusions? Are we doomed to be for ever 
striving toward ends that will cease to interest 
us as soon as we have compassed them? It is, 
indeed, truly so. No fact, nor class of facts, is 
more clearly and incontestably established in the 
experience of the human race than this. " Vanity 
of vanities, all is vanity, saith the preacher." 

But this is not the whole truth. Though we 
may not realize our dreams, our labour has not 
been in vain. Though the special satisfactions 
on which we had set our hearts have not been 
accomplished, many other things have been, — 
matters of far greater and more enduring 
value. And without entering into detail, we 
may comprehend many of these in that one word 
education, character-forging. 

I say many, not all, for whoever labours wisely 
for the achievement of personal or social ends 
adds something to the solidity and effectiveness 
of the instrumentalities by which we live. To 
do this, to build up, improve, and fortify the 
social order is one of the great ends of human 
existence. Though not the final, it is the proxi- 
mate end. To labour wisely for this, to discern 
truthfully the particular part which we are 
fitted to play in it, and to perform this faithfully, 


in the consciousness of our corporate implica- 
tions and responsibilities, is to honour the life 
that has been given us and to live in harmony 
with the supreme intelligence that has ordained 
and superintended it. 



ASSUMING then, that the social order 
in which we find ourselves is not, even 
in its greatest perfection, the goal of 
evolution, but an instrumentality, a great train- 
ing school, the next question is, For what does 
it train us? What values in the immediate or 
remote future can we conceive as adequate to 
justify the severe discipline to which we are 
subjected? It might be replied at once that 
character in itself is an acquisition of inestimable 
value. But even so, something more needs to 
be supplied. Character, without something in 
which it can realize itself, is a mere abstraction. 
There must be an objective reality of adequate 
worth to which it can be applied, or it is a barren 

It might indeed seem, at first sight, as if the 
results reached in the foregoing chapter ren- 
dered valueless any attempt to answer this 
question. If, as we have said, this world is a 
system of cleverly framed delusions calculated to 
lure us on to continued achievement, if we are 
for ever leaving our imagined heavens behind us, 



of what use can any speculation of ours be? Even 
if a divine seer could put before us a true descrip- 
tion of some remote stage of the higher type 
toward which we are moving, is there any likeli- 
hood that, from our present standpoint, we 
should be able to understand its value, or attrac- 
tiveness? We may, indeed, on the ground of 
continuity, analogically construct a scheme of 
probabilities with regard to the proximate stages 
of the future. We may vision forth a social 
organism on a higher plane, in which each one 
who has acquitted himself well on earth will 
find himself promoted, with re-enforced powers, 
to a sphere of enlarged activities and increased 
responsibilities. But this does not fill the require- 
ments. It belongs still to the category of instru- 
mentalities. Though the promotion be from the 
custody of one pound to that of authority over 
ten cities, it still appeals to the imagination as a 
matter of more or less. 


What we want to find is the one supreme, 
all-embracing interest that is and always will be 
worth while, — the ever-enduring, inexhaustible 
satisfaction. Can we discover any way of ap- 
proach to an understanding of this? Some- 
times, when the main and obvious and apparently 
only road to a place is hopelessly barred against 
us, it happens that a side-road, unpretentious, 
unobserved, and roundabout, will bring us to 


the goal of our desires. This is not the first 
impasse of thought that we have encountered in 
the course of our discussion. Let us bring to 
bear upon it the method by which these others 
have been reduced. We have seen that some 
of the most obstinate cases of this kind are 
rooted in a false analogy. May it not be so 

The little word end has, in this connection, 
much to answer for. It is a word that we use, 
and shall probably continue to use, as a synonym 
for purpose without meaning all that it implies, 
and yet our thought is influenced by its implica- 
tions. We say "the end toward which we move." 
We may not think of that end as a finality, but 
yet the suggestion of finality attaches to it. 
The word, of course, is not altogether responsible. 
We have made choice of it for this purpose be- 
cause we have somehow formed the habit of 
thinking of the future statically, of imagining a 
definite, fixed condition as the goal which will 
finish our labours and satisfy us. 

Now, let us change the conception. Instead 
of asking "to what all-desirable end does evolu- 
tion carry us," let us ask to what sublime and 
all-satisfying activity does it seem to point. 
I think we shall find this workable. In the first 
place, it is a conception fully in harmony with 
evolution. Abandoning the idea of fixedness, 
which was the essence of the old thought, it takes 
a firm grip on the great reality of this world as 


a world of movement. And at once our personal 
recollections of past experiences jump to the 
endorsement of this construction. For our great- 
est satisfactions have been always, somehow, 
linked with our activities, and somehow, also, 
they have faded out with the decline of those 
activities. It is true that one of the most accepted 
and cherished thoughts of a better world is that 
it will be a place of rest. But this is only a pro- 
visional conception. Rest prolonged beyond the 
time of necessary recuperation becomes restless- 
ness. There is nothing abiding in it. Just rest 
enough to give a renewed zest to activity is all 
that we can make use of in this world or another. 

Following then the lead of this idea, that our 
earthly training will find its application in some 
unique and very exalted form of soul activity, 
our first step may profitably be an inquiry as to 
the nature of the satisfaction which we derive 
from our ordinary activities. As these range all 
the way from those that are purely physical to 
those which are almost as purely spiritual, our 
inquiry might seem to have an interminable 
outlook. But it is only to one particular charac- 
teristic of our activities that I wish to call atten- 
tion, namely, that they yield their greatest 
values to us as side issues. 

In our efforts to grasp life's prizes there is a 
continual recurrence of certain secondary products 
that are not disappointing. They cannot disap- 
point us because we have had no expectations 


with regard to them. They flow in, as it were, 
from the side. If, when our attention is called 
to them, we try to make them the direct object 
of our designed activities, they are capable of 
disappointing us, like anything else. They are 
the rewards of earnest striving for the achieve- 
ment of other interests. They come to an end, 
it is true, when the particular form of activity, in 
connection with which they have been generated, 
ceases. But they spring up anew with each new 
pursuit, and their cessation in each case leaves 
no bitterness behind it. The memory of them is 
purely one of happiness. Although the fruit for 
which we climbed was not worth while, the 
remembrance of the climb is exhilarating. 

"The Preacher," who proclaimed all things 
to be but vanity and vexation of spirit, made, 
in the same connection, admissions that fatally 
discredit his aspersions of life. In each quest to 
which he addressed himself he declares that he 
received great satisfaction during all the period 
of his approach to the object of his desire. Every 
hour of his working toward each of his prospective 
ends paid him his reward, in good coin, which he 
took and appropriated. His heart " rejoiced in 
his labour, " a rejoicing that might have been 
continued indefinitely and increasingly had he not 
been so unfortunate as to out-fly his quarry 
and put it to death. There are two points which 
this aspect of life opens for our consideration. 

First, that this experience of the Preacher 


emphasizes a great principle of life, one that is 
limited to no one class of experiences, but is true 
in every department of our manifold activity. 
Let us formulate it in some such hypothesis as 
the following: Progressive being and progressive 
satisfaction in being are to be looked for in the line 
of life's side issues. 

Without minimizing the importance of the 
direct outcome of our ambitions, we may safely 
say that as related to the great end of life they 
are of subsidiary value, means to an end — the 
end being the increase and perfection of being. 
Every faculty normally exercised tends to become 
something higher in the scale of being. Its 
range is increased; it grows stronger, finer, 
quicker in its response to other faculties, and ever 
more firmly integrated as a vital part of the or- 
ganism to which it belongs. So also with the 
organism as a whole. The cumulative effect of 
its efforts in the various directions of its activity 
raises it, by a series of unmarked gradations, till 
it has come to belong to a superior order. That 
this is the purpose of the great process, that for 
which it exists, is made increasingly probable 
by the fact that it is accompanied by happiness. 

This is nature's endorsement of its normality. 
In its lower ranges this consciousness of well- 
being, of progressive becoming, may yield a 
happiness only somewhat higher than that of 
healthily developing animals. In its higher ranges 
it is the underlying source of the deepest satis- 


factions that human beings can experience. We 
have then a gradation of happiness, the degrees 
of which correspond to the successive stages of 
growth. And, if we may find ourselves justified 
in postulating an unending ascent in the scale 
of being, for the human personality that keeps 
its place in the line of promotion, we have a good 
basis for a definite hypothesis as to the future of 

It will, I think, clear the atmosphere, at this 
point, if we address ourselves to an examination 
of the kind of satisfaction that attends the con- 
sciousness of progressive being; for it has elements 
that are clearly distinguishable. In the first 
place there is in it that element which, in the 
widest signification, we may call worship, and in 
the second place there is the sense of movement 
toward something better, the exhilaration of ac- 
quisition and attainment. Both are elemental 
in human nature. They are referrible to nothing 
lying behind them save the great intelligence that 
has implanted all our enduring instincts. Both 
are essential to the highest well-being. The 
first belongs to the region of ideals, the second 
has regard to the pursuit of them. All along the 
course of soul development they work together. 
The ideal gives rise to the pursuit. The pursuit, 
in turn, causes the ideal to deepen and expand 
and to hold the soul with an ever firmer grip. 

I have called the first worship, because that 
word alone, by including the lower as well as the 


higher forms of human devotion, expresses the 
continuity of that principle which I believe to be 
the motive power and, at the same time, the end 
of evolution. The use of such a word will seem 
no doubt to strike a strange note when applied 
to the subordinate pursuits of our ordinary lives. 

Worship, to our ordinary thinking, dwells in a 
place apart. It is a transcendent activity of the 
soul, if it be real; a solemn and perhaps weari- 
some observance, if it is a mere formality. What 
we call public worship, represented by innumerable 
churches, exalted music and psalmody, an army 
of priests and supporting worshippers, is a depart- 
ment of life quite separate from the world of our 
daily strivings. But there is another significa- 
tion to the word. There is a worship that finds 
its expression not only through established forms, 
but more essentially and helpfully in every experi- 
ence of life. It is not a matter of time or place, 
of "this mountain or Jerusalem," but the joyous 
uplifting of the soul that, always and everywhere, 
worships the Father in spirit and in truth. 

With this signification the sphere of worship 
is immeasurably widened. The word connotes 
not alone a specific act, a rite observed, a duty 
performed, not merely an exalted, but occasional 
and specialized, experience, but, rather, an atti- 
tude of soul, an abiding passion, a specialized 
life, a new being. But even this enlarged con- 
ception fails to exhaust the meaning of the word, 
or to express the far-reaching influence of the 


principle which underlies it. That energy of the 
soul which, when it is directed to the supreme 
ideal we call distinctively worship, has innumerable 
manifestations. It is not a mere figure of speech 
when we say that a man worships power or wealth, 
his dream or his profession. Not all the charac- 
teristics of the higher worship are there, but the 
moving principle is; and when the same principle 
rises to higher ranges, its transformation is the 
result of the different nature of that on which it 
expends itself. 

We have therefore a gradation of worships, 
illustrated not alone in the successive develop- 
ment of distinctive religions, but also more clearly 
and vitally in the quality of the ambitions and 
quests that constitute the great volume of pro- 
gressive life which we call human evolution. 

It is a principle which so far as we know is 
peculiar to man. That is, we have no evidence 
that the animals lower in the scale share it to 
any great degree. Or, if they do, it is probably 
unconscious, — not a matter on which they can 
reflect. The look of devotion with which a dog 
regards his master does, indeed, suggest the 
worship of a person. The ambition of a horse to 
be swifter than all other horses, and the collapse 
of his spirit when it is proved that he is not, is 
akin to the worship of an ideal, and the skylark 
pouring out its heart as it soars into the heavens 
seems the exultant expression of it. But man, 
looking before and after, not only becomes con- 


scious of his ideals, he, more or less consciously, 
creates and fosters them. 

As soon as creature wants are supplied the man 
who has the seeds of development in him begins 
to reach out to something higher. There is some 
sort of a vision. It may be that of power, of 
feeling himself to be greater, more influential, 
more forceful than those about him. It may be 
the vision of accumulation and possession; it 
may be that of creation, the ambition of the 
poet, the architect, the composer, the painter, the 
sculptor, the inventor, the organizer of an indus- 
try. It may be the ideal of the discoverer, who 
feels that every onward step in science is a step 
upward for the human race. 

For the realization of any one of these ideals 
there must be concentration of attention and 
energy. And in connection with this concentra- 
tion, this narrowing and deepening of the stream 
of vitality toward one end, there springs up a 
feeling, an enthusiasm which, without violence, 
we may call the worship of the ideal. Sometimes 
the object of supreme desire takes violent posses- 
sion of a man. His imagination is captured and 
held. The ideal quickly becomes an idee fixe, 
an obsession. His life is controlled by it, and all 
his energies, if he be a man of achievement, find 
their outlet in this one direction. But more 
often, it is a quiet, natural growth. There is a 
gradual building up from the dawning of the first 
impression, the first feeling of attraction, to the 


recognized ideal. And before this domination of 
one desire is attained there is often the growth 
and decadence of many lesser ideals. 

The episodic, kaleidoscopic ideals of youth 
chase each other through the years of immaturity, 
each one surrounded with a temporary glamour, 
intense while it lasts and apparently imperishable, 
but, fading away as one more luminous appears 
on the horizon. Each one leaves a residuum of 
feeling and experience, a compound of disillusion 
and regret and, probably, a measurable harden- 
ing of the susceptibilities of the imagination. As 
the man approaches maturity he is likely to exer- 
cise his critical faculties more, to question the 
seductiveness of this, or that, appeal for his devo- 
tion, to ask, Is it worth while? is it what it appears 
to be? will it fulfil its promises? 

If it stands these challenges and still holds the 
imagination, its attractiveness increases. Every 
time the man turns away and looks oack again 
there is a stronger light upon it. It acquires 
form and clearness of outline. He no longer 
thinks he sees, but, he sees the object which is 
above all other things desirable. When a man 
reaches this stage he generally experiences a 
great happiness. For the chief want of his nature, 
an end to live for, has for a time at least been met. 
Even though the realization of his ideal seems at 
the beginning almost hopelessly out of his reach, 
its mere existence, as a well-defined ideal, gives 
him a glow and a satisfaction in living that noth- 


ing else can give. He has a wellspring of life 
and joy and energy within him such as the man 
without an object in life can never possess. And 
as, day by day, he fosters it and moves toward 
it, by innumerable little steps, the attractiveness 
and the joy increase. He lives and he knows that 
he lives. His heart sings within him, not for 
what he has as yet in his possession, but for the 
movement, the progress toward ? that which is to 
him a light shining brighter and brighter. 

Though he may have frequent disappoint- 
ments and discomfitures, there is an undercurrent 
of satisfaction because he is in love with some- 
thing, because his soul has found an outlet through 
which it streams forth in daily worship. And by 
worship and effort the man grows in strength of 
will and in power of achievement. He becomes a 
perfected instrument for the accomplishment of 
the end to which he has devoted his unswerving 
attention and passionate regard. This is what 
makes the world go round, not simply for the 
individual, but also for the great social and in- 
dustrial organism in its totality. It is the wor- 
ship of the ideal that fits men for their tasks, 
that keeps them to their tasks through weariness 
and self-denial, through watchings and fastings, 
through years of ingratitude and neglect and 
human cruelty. 

Now, does not all this point to the belief that 
the future of evolution will have for its motive 
power, and perhaps essentially consist in, some 


form of the worship of the ideal? We are war- 
ranted, I think, by the facts in making this 


The next question then is, what are the ante- 
cedent probabilities as to the characteristics of 
this ideal? The experiences to which we have 
just given our attention indicate clearly what 
some of these must be. We have seen that there 
is an unmistakable gradation of ideals on a scale 
of value and efficiency. The essential quality 
of an ideal is not a matter that can be referred 
only to the taste of the individual. Unquestion- 
ably it has a value as related to the peculiarities 
of the individual and to the plane of evolution 
that he has reached at any given time. But it 
has also a distinct place on a scale of absolute 
values applicable to the human race as a whole. 
It is not, in this connection, necessary or desir- 
able to try to make a list of all the qualities that 
should appear on such a scale. But, as regards 
the great process, there are certain vital charac- 
teristics which we must postulate as necessary 
to an ideal which can presume to be that of 
advancing evolution. 

In the first place it must be inexhaustible. This 
one quality takes it out of the class of lesser 
ideals and puts it into a class by itself. Other 
ideals are finite; this one must be, as related to 
our powers of growth, infinite. These others, 


that is, the forms in which they embody them- 
selves, can be compassed, emptied of their seduc- 
tions and left behind. This one, the supreme, 
can never be compassed nor left behind, for it 
is the ideal of ideals, the reality, of which all others 
are only the scattered rays. It is the source 
from which they have sprung and the end in 
which alone they can find the fulfilment of their 
prophecies. It must be inexhaustible, not sim- 
ply as related to one faculty, one department of 
human aspiration; for this would mean, and does 
continually result in, abnormal development, be 
the specialty what it may. It must have such a 
fulness of content, such a potentiality as related 
to all the activities of the soul that each one shall 
find its progressive satisfaction and realization 
in it. 

An ideal so related to the human mind can be 
nothing other than mind itself, — a supreme 
mind in which all and more than all the possi- 
bilities shadowed forth in human visions of per- 
fection are not only existent, but always active 
and, like the great process itself, ever moving on. 

If now we postulate, in response to these de- 
mands of our human experience, the reality of 
such a supreme being, are we thereby abandoning 
the region of fact for that of fancy? Are we 
trying to establish as an actuality that for which 
we can find no endorsement in past experience? 
On the contrary, we are simply focalizing atten- 
tion upon one great class of facts in human history, 



outlining the conclusions to which they point 
and offering a working hypothesis as to their 
place in the human scheme of things. 

If this most important and significant factor 
fits into the place we have assigned it, if it is seen 
to be the keystone of the arch of human thought 
and experience, providing a foundation on which 
we may securely build heavenwards, it cannot be 
set aside. It has been established as all our other 
well-founded beliefs are established. Our approach 
to it has been tentative; it has been an explora- 
tion along the line of a special class of facts and 
a search for their complementary factor, some- 
what as the astronomer searches for a star which 
ought to be found in a certain place in the heavens, 
or as a chemist describes some of the qualities of 
an element not yet discovered, from the require- 
ments of classified facts in his possession. And 
if, at this point, we recall our vision from its 
speculative task, we see right before us, as an 
actuality, that which we have postulated. 

The supreme ideal that we have described as 
necessary for the continued evolution of man is 
an existing thing in human experience. It is 
and has been through the ages a most potent 
factor in the evolution of the human mind. It 
has been the source of the most vital inspiration, 
the spring of desire, of effort, and, in the largest 
sense, of conduct. It has all the characteristics 
of our ideal, not only in the advanced form in 
which it exists to-day, but, more particularly 


and essentially, in the history of its becoming. 
As we look back upon that history, the crude 
forms in which it existed during the childhood 
of the race may seem to have almost nothing 
in common with its maturer forms. But this is 
not peculiar to any one department of human 

The world of our conceptions is an organized 
whole, every part of which is dependent upon the 
other parts. Each different one has in turn its 
day of expansion and growth, while others may 
be relatively at a standstill; and at such times it 
often seems to those who are specially interested 
in a growing department that these others have 
reached the limit of their usefulness and should, 
as encumbrances, be eliminated. But anon, these 
overshadowed departments of our organized belief 
come to their own. They, in their turn, are 
quickened and enter upon a growth of transfor- 
mation and adjustment, fitting them to their 
place in the living and developing whole. 

These different sources of our human thought 
cannot perish, or wholly disappear, because they 
are of the very essence of human nature. They 
spring each from a divine germinal instinct, an 
irrepressible principle making for growth and 
progressive realization. 

The God-consciousness of the race has passed 
through as many phases as the race itself. In its 
earlier stages of development it does not appear 
as an ideal at all. It is the brooding sense of 


an existence higher up on the scale of being, a 
personality more powerful than man; not one 
to be, in any true sense, worshipped, but rather 
one to be feared and propitiated. When, at a 
later stage, the conviction that this higher per- 
sonality is beneficent, that He is one to be adored 
and loved, dawns, it is confined to a few indi- 
viduals, the men of deeper insight and inspired 

These, the prophets, declare what God is as 
revealed in their experience. They speak boldly 
with a "thus saith the Lord," because they speak 
from experience and not from speculative or 
reasoned premises. Their words find a response 
in a select following, who recognize the voice of 
God speaking strongly and authoritatively through 
these inspired ones. They know the God of 
the prophets as the Very God Who has already 
worked in them, but hitherto only vaguely com- 
prehended and timidly desired. Ages ago this 
thought of God as the supreme ideal entered into 
the world, ages ago it was proclaimed in no 
uncertain words. But, history all the way down 
is the record of men's unfitness to receive it. 
Men have ever seen in God a more or less mag- 
nified reflection of those in power among them. 
The arbitrariness and love of self-aggrandizement 
that have so often characterized their earthly 
rulers have been transferred to "Him who sitteth 
in the Heavens." 

The ancient Hebrew liturgy, as we have it 


in the Psalms, is a luminous illustration of the 
coexistence of diverse conceptions of God in the 
thoughts of a nation to which the reality of 
God was a foregone conclusion. In the Psalms 
we have a theology in the process of evolution. 
Antagonistic ideas of God are continually linked 
together, apparently without a thought that 
they are antagonistic. Love and pitiful mercy 
are coupled with revengeful cruelty. Grandeur 
of being, majesty of bearing in the works of 
nature, largeness of soul to the uttermost limit 
of human thought, are there, and at the same 
time the imputation of the human littleness of 
a soul that exults in satisfied anger and physical 
triumph over enemies. 

The ideal is taking shape through much tribu- 
lation, holding its own, but not yet triumphing 
over the crudities of a lagging development. 
The higher thought stands out clear and full, 
with a grandeur and majesty, a depth and tender- 
ness of expression that satisfy the most exacting 
demands of the soul, an expression that has 
furnished, for all time, the most exalted form of 
language for human worship. But, it is not till 
the advent of that messenger of God who embodied 
this spirit in a far higher degree, that we have the 
separation and exaltation of the finer conception 
and the unmistakable condemnation of the lower. 

" Ye have heard that it hath been said by them 
of old time, thou shalt love thy neighbour and 
hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your 


enemies, bless them that curse you . . . that 
you may be the children of your Father which 
is in Heaven." 

This is the distinct setting up of an ideal. It is, 
indeed, but one aspect of that ideal, and it is 
expressed in language that seems to us hyperbole. 
But any effort to indicate the ideal in words must 
result in hyperbole, because, as related to human 
aspiration and effort it is, and must always con- 
tinue to be, unattainable. Were it otherwise, 
the demands of evolution would not be met. 
"Be ye perfect even as your Heavenly Father is 
perfect" is the necessary expression of it. A 
fuller and more explicit one is given us in that 
wonderfully condensed formula which contains 
the quintessence of the old Jewish religion: 

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with 
all thy heart and with all thy mind and 
with all thy strength, and thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself." 

An appearance of impracticability attaches to 
both these formulas. They seem too high, too 
separate from the life that we experimentally 
know, to be heartily and honestly appropriated 
as achievable ends by any one. They appear to 
involve the absolute reversal of the motive prin- 
ciples of life, the suppression of its energizing 
factors. Life, as we know it, is full of devotion 
to passing interests, but these interests, though 
ephemeral, are all important to the life to which 


they contribute. To eliminate them would be 
like removing all the organs through which the 
heart serves the body, for the purpose of giving 
it freer play. 

But, this transcendent aspect of the ideal is 
really no practical bar to its acceptance, for 
its attachments to actuality are indicated very 
clearly in the context. The "Father in Heaven " 
Whom we are exhorted to resemble is identified 
with the God of nature. It is He that causeth 
His sun to shine on the evil and on the good and 
His rain to fall on the just and on the unjust. 
In other words, we are referred to the study of 
God, as He manifests Himself in the actual world, 
for an explanation of details and for the practical 
adjustment of our lives to them. Isolated from 
this practical setting, the great two-sided formula 
which expresses, at the same time, the rule and 
the ideal of life, seems to involve an insuperable 

The first clause of it is expressed in uncom- 
promising absolute terms — ' ' with all thy heart 
and with all thy mind and with all thy strength." 
But, the second clause at once limits and explains. 
It provides for and commands two streams of 
soul-energy which are to share the attention, the 
devotion, and the effort of the same soul that has 
been directed to concentrate everything on the 
thought of God. And these two streams of 
soul-energy are just those which, in the natural 
man, have worn deep channels: the love of self, 


which, from the initial moment of consciousness, 
has been the moving power of evolution; and the 
love of our neighbour, which has been evolved 
and fostered and extended, from its beginnings 
in the ties of consanguinity, all through the course 
of social organization. These two are to have 
their full, equal share of the vital forces generated 
in every living soul of man. 

Men have not lived through the Christian 
centuries under this formula without making a 
workable adjustment of its apparently divergent 
clauses to the conduct of current affairs. But 
they have, generally speaking, been able to live 
without understanding the principles of such 
adjustments, or legitimizing them in their moral 
judgments. The impossible ideal set up by the 
first great commandment has seemed more or 
less the censor of their devotion to various lesser 
ideals. Necessary though this latter devotion be, 
in the logic of events, its justification will, ever 
and anon, figure in the court of conscience as 
disloyalty to the highest ends of being. 

To work out, from the standpoint of evolution, 
the true relation of the absolute ideal to the host 
of lesser subsidiary ideals is one of the great 
practical problems of a living theology. 



WE have now two formulas on our hands, 
both of which are said to be radi- 
cally related to the conduct of human 
life and equally comprehensive in their bearing. 
"Work out your own salvation, it is God that 
worketh in you." "Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as 


It is time for us to compare or, shall we say, 
contrast these two. Are they compatible with 
each other? Do they logically hang together? 
Can they practically work together? At first sight 
it might seem that these questions must be an- 
swered in the negative. Each of our two propo- 
sitions has in itself a paradoxical look, to overcome 
which we have fallen back upon concrete ex- 
perience. But when we bring the two together, 
for co-operation, the paradoxical and practically 
conflicting nature of the attempt looks almost 

Are any two principles in the world more 
definitely opposed to each other than altruism and 



egoism? Does not our first formula appeal essen- 
tially to the egoistic side of human nature and 
the second to the altruistic? How can a man 
make the working out of his own salvation the 
great purpose of his existence and at the same 
time aim consciously at an all-absorbing love to 
God as the end that must dominate all others? 
Is living for self the same as living for another? 
Can one have at the same time two supreme 
ends? Let us look carefully at this fundamental 

One certainly cannot have two such ends if they 
are, in the nature of things, radically opposed to 
each other. But if, on the contrary, the two ends 
are antagonistic only in appearance, if in practice 
they may be made to serve each other, become 
complementary to each other, then the duality dis- 
appears in an essential unity. Sometimes one and 
sometimes the other of these two interests, figures 
as the supreme end, and alternately, as the means 
for attaining the end. In the evolution of the 
human mind we are familiar with such a trans- 
position of means and ends. An activity which 
in its initial stage is entered upon, not for its 
own sake, but because it is believed to be tribu- 
tary to some ulterior end, is, in its later stages, 
pursued quite for its own sake. 

The beginnings of chemistry were not noble. 
They were not the outcome of a desire to advance 
science, but for the more homely, workaday 
motive of producing gold by a secret process. 


Nevertheless chemistry, so cultivated, did advance 
science, and, as the field of its activities widened 
and its marvellous richness fired the imagina- 
tion of its votaries, the original end vanished out 
of sight. Devotion to science became its own 

So with our apparently conflicting formulas. 
Our postulate is that the great end of existence 
for every intelligent, normal man is to work out 
his own salvation, — to so regulate his life, his 
thoughts, and his affections as to secure for him- 
self the realization of the highest possibilities of 
his nature. Then comes the question how shall 
he work; by what methods? What principle 
has he to guide him? Where lies the road by 
which he is to travel? We have answered, That 
which he seeks is to be found only in the cultiva- 
tion of a passion for something so exalted, so 
inexhaustible in its satisfactions, that it will con- 
tinually lead him on to higher and still higher 
realizations of himself. 

This brought us to our second formula, which 
figures as the means to the attainment of the 
above end, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy mind and with all thy heart and 
with all thy strength." This is the relation of 
the two formulas at the outset; that is, during 
the initial stages of the higher evolution. But, 
as the process goes on, if love to God actually 
develops in the soul, if it widens and deepens 
and discloses to a man's consciousness the great- 


ness of its satisfactions and possibilities, it pro- 
gressively moves into the position of an end 
pursued for itself alone. The thought of working 
out one's own salvation is swallowed up in the flood 
of life that has entered every desolate place. 

This, we may confidently believe, will be the 
fruitage. But at first our lives are passed mainly 
in the transitional stage. The end, never to be 
lost sight of, is for every man the working out of 
his own salvation. This is the course of nature. 
It is the repetition, on the highest plane, of the 
process which, on every plane, carries us from 
one stage to another of an ever-expanding life. 
There must be, first, the struggle for existence, 
then the struggle for the improvement of existence; 
then, as the outcome of this, the development of 
interests that serve, sometimes as ends, and some- 
times as means to ends. 

As to the morality of making personal salvation 
the aim of a life's striving, there is much to be 
said. The position that it is the necessary in- 
centive and guide to a higher type of being will 
be challenged by some and repudiated, with 
righteous indignation, by others. Is not this the 
crude, narrow view of life that the highest morality 
has discredited as a disintegrating, soul-withering 
idea? Has not all social and moral progress been 
characterized by a growing altruism? 

My position is, that however truly this may 
represent a much-approved phase of modern 
thought, it is a partial, one-sided, and therefore 


injuriously false view of the situation. Living for 
others is distinctly not the object set before us 
as the great end of life either in the Christian 
formula or in any other formula save that of a 
very modern philosophy. It certainly is not in- 
culcated by practical experience. The chief and 
overwhelmingly important object of every living 
soul is to work out as fully as may be its own 
destiny. This is the trust that has been specially 
committed to each one. It is the work for which 
the individual is responsible. 

God Who has fashioned us and knows us 
through and through, our tendencies, our capa- 
bilities, our susceptibilities, does not make Him- 
self responsible for our salvation. He has put 
that responsibility upon us. How much less can 
we, having no private latchkey to our neighbour's 
soul, able to approach him only from the outside, 
look with certainty for any definite results from 
our efforts to influence him in the working out 
of that salvation which is his business? Unques- 
tionably it is our duty and our privilege, and one 
of the prime conditions of success in the working 
out of our own highest good, that we work for 
that of our neighbour also. But, so far as direct 
results are concerned, we are to the last degree 
uncertain of the outcome. We may, indeed, rest 
assured that our labours of love will bear some 
fruit, though it may not be of that particular 
kind on which we have set our hearts. 

The missionary who succumbs to a deadly 


climate, or to the violence of savages, before he has 
had time to speak a word has failed in the imme- 
diate object of his life, but the spirit that inspired 
him and those who sent him has enriched the 
world. But, even if there were no such residuum 
of good in the outside world, the results in the 
hero's own soul are of incalculable value for him. 
He, at all events, has been working out his own 
salvation in the effort to help work out that of 

To see this matter rightly we must objectify 
the self we are working for. This soul, which 
I call mine, is a thing specially committed to my 
care. It is a thing of wonderful possibilities in 
the direction of happiness or misery; of nobility, 
beauty, harmony, on the one hand, and of degrada- 
tion, deformity, and dreadful discord on the other. 
Can I present it to its Maker with its higher 
qualities developed as the outcome of my life, or 
shall I have to appear before Him in shame and 
self-reproach with nothing but a ruined instru- 
ment in my hands? As an object to live for, 
nothing can be more inspiring than this. It calls 
into play the planning, creative, artistic faculty. 
It generates the love that springs up and grows 
with the growth of any living thing that realizes 
itself under our fostering care. 

Furthermore, an attempt to suppress self- 
interest as a prime factor in moral evolution is 
nothing less than undertaking a reform against 
nature. It proposes the elimination from the 


great process of that principle which has hitherto 
been its mainspring. It is not simply an im- 
possible undertaking, it is a vicious one. To set 
up altruism, or any other principle, as that which 
ought to be, as contrasted with devotion to self- 
interest as a something which ought not to be, is a 
most mischievous and morally depressing doctrine. 
Whatever the moral philosopher may say, the 
rejected principle of action will continue, by force 
of nature, to be the motive principle of the great 
volume of life, and to teach men that this is an 
unworthy, immoral principle is to put them in 
the position of moral outlaws. If they intellectu- 
ally legitimize the doctrine of the altruist, they 
live in a perpetual self-stultification, habitually 
condemning themselves in that which they allow. 

Reasoning thus from facts, from the relations 
which the great forces of human evolution have 
borne to each other in the past, I conclude that the 
frank, whole-hearted, courageous, joyous devotion 
of oneself to the working out of his own highest 
destiny is the grandest occupation for the soul of 
every human being. But now, let us observe, 
there is another side to all this. Important and 
irrepressible as is the principle of self-realization, 
it does not stand alone. It is but one of an 
organic group of principles, each one of which is 
equally important in the higher evolution and 
each one of which has emerged as a rudimentary 
instinct in the natural course of the great process. 

Working by itself, without restraint from its 


associates, the instinct of self-realization runs 
sometimes a riotous course to ruin, sometimes 
an apparently upward course to monomania and 
bitter frustration of its life object. Pure egoism 
is a form of insanity, and a cultivated egoism is 
sure to turn upon the subject of it. It is a well- 
attested fact of history that absolute, autocratic 
power carries with it the implications of insanity. 
The solitariness of the situation unseats the 
reason. Culture, for its own sake alone, brings 
up at the same goal, — ennui, self-reproach, hatred 
of that which was formerly delighted in, blank 
despair where there has been an outlook of ever- 
increasing happiness, the nakedness of poverty 
where there has seemed to be an inexhaustible 
store of wealth. 

Tennyson, in the " Palace of Art," has given 
us a lurid, but perhaps not too lurid, picture of the 
tragedy of a soul that, with all the resources of 
the modern world at its command and endowed 
with all the capabilities of a highly strung organ- 
ization, has sought self-realization with nothing 
other than self in view. 

Lest she should fail and perish utterly 

God, before whom ever lie bare 
The abysmal deeps of personality, 

Plagued her with sore despair. 

All the high susceptibility of feeling, the keen- 
ness of perception, the nobler tastes and spiritual 
necessities engendered in this soul that has been 


weaned from lower gratification to the highest 
that art and culture can give, join together to 
reproach, and torture its loneliness. 

And death and life she hated equally 
And nothing saw for her despair, 

But dreadful time, dreadful eternity, 
No comfort anywhere. 

More apparent still is the evil and cruelty of 
this instinct, unrestrained, when we turn to its 
manifestations in the world of social relations. 
However fine, however impersonal the original 
conception of achievement may be, the realiza- 
tion of it in a militant world has a fatal tendency 
to debase it. What was, at the outset, a legit- 
imate passion for self-improvement and self- 
expression gets transformed into a craving for 
recognition. The desire to be is supplanted by 
the desire to appear, the desire of dominating 
the imaginations of others, of commanding their 
praises. And out of this desire is developed that 
brood of unlovely and hateful things, jealousy, 
envy, cruelty. Many of the greatest evils of 
society owe their origin and their violence to the 
warring of rival contestants for self-realization. 
In any given age, the fashion of the world fixes 
the attention of many on the same prizes, and in 
all ages, the desire for wealth and power is a 
dominating passion of dominating souls. This 
means war. In the realm of finance, of politics, 
of social prestige, passions and cruelties are 


engendered that are sometimes as essentially 
"hell" as that which declares itself on the battle- 
fields that are strewn with human bodies. 

What then are the motives that shall prove 
strong enough to curb and transform into an 
angel of light this masterful, tyrannical instinct? 
We have said that, in its normality, this instinct 
is but one of an organic group of principles, each 
one of which is equally important in the higher 
evolution and each one of which has emerged as 
a rudimentary instinct in the natural course of 
the great process. We might go far afield to 
marshal these principles, for they manifest them- 
selves in a variety of forms. But it is more to 
our purpose to devote attention strictly to the 
condensed statement of them given in our second 
formula. And the more we study that formula 
in relation to the realities of life and to the 
processes of becoming in human evolution, the 
more, I believe, we shall be impressed with its 
all-comprehensive grasp of the truth. 

In the prosecution of this study it is desirable 
that we dissociate it as much as possible from its 
traditional implications of divine authority. This 
is not to separate it in thought from its connection 
with the inspired Teacher Who set the seal of His 
greatness upon it. We must, indeed, compare it 
with His other teachings to know what He meant 
by His endorsement of it. But when we have 
ascertained, so far as may be, what it meant to 
Him, it remains for us to make it ours by testing 


it thoroughly as related to life's experiences. Does 
it fit in with the past of human thought and 
feeling? Is it capable of meeting satisfactorily 
the demands which the crying deficiencies of our 
incompleteness make upon it? Does it give us a 
true answer to the great questions which we are 
asking of evolution? Does it indicate the one 
and only line of normal development? Does it 
mark out clearly an end worthy of the life-effort 
and enthusiasm of every human soul? 


"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy 
mind — thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'' 
This is said to be two laws, and it is ordinarily 
thought of as such. But, as we have elsewhere 
pointed out, it is practically a threefold formula. 
And its second clause, prescribing, as it does, two 
streams of soul-energy that are diverse and often 
antagonistic to each other, obliges us to divide our 
attention to the study of each one separately. 

The love of our neighbour is to be one of the 
great ends of life. The love of self is another, of 
equal importance with the first; and, because it 
is the first in the order of development, we must 
make it the starting-point of our investigation. 
It is here that we have the strongest attach- 
ments in reality. And because it is a principle 
of action fully mobilized and in actual possession 
of the situation at the outset, it is made the 


gauge of that other principle that ought to be 
its peer. That which we know and practise is 
to be the measure of that which is as yet only 
partially known and practised: its measure not 
simply as to the volume of the attention and life- 
energy we bestow upon it, but also as regards its 

The standard of self-interest is, in every 
normal soul, continually changing. If we are in 
the true line of promotion we are progressively 
aiming at higher and more comprehensive ends, 
and the love of our neighbour must follow suit. 
Not that we are to presume that we and our 
neighbour will be always moving at the same 
pace, but that our increased apprehension of the 
possibilities and of the value of life will react 
upon the love of our neighbour, enlarging and 
carrying it to a higher degree of intensity. 

This throws us back once more on the recogni- 
tion of the fact that the progressive realization of 
self is a vital factor in the true life. That this 
was Our Lord's understanding of the second 
clause of our formula will be clearly seen by a 
comparison of the development of its two outlooks 
in His illustrative discourses. His parables give 
us truth in a concrete objective form which there 
is no mistaking. And in the twenty-fifth chapter 
of St. Matthew we have both sides of this moral 
equation so illustrated. Probably no two repre- 
sentations of the outcome of human life and of 
the standards by which its success, or failure, is 


to be measured have more deeply impressed them- 
selves upon men's imaginations, or more effectually 
influenced their lives, than that of the parable of 
the Talents, on the one hand, and that of the Final 
Judgment on the other. 

Both these representations have to do with the 
results of life as a whole, and each one is put 
before us as if it constituted the sole test by which 
individual lives are to be judged. At the same 
time they are as diverse in their outlooks as they 
can well be, one having regard to what we have 
called self-realization, the other setting up human 
sympathy and helpfulness as if it were the sole 
test of a normal life. This latter has regard to 
the love of one's neighbour, the former has regard 
to the love of oneself. 

The parable of the Talents carries us into life's 
conflicts, the battle-fields where men are wrestling 
for the mastery and where one man's gain fre- 
quently involves another's loss, and it seems not 
only to legitimize the struggle, but to make its 
prosecution the test of a faithful life. I say it 
seems so to do. And even where we rise above 
the literalness of the figure, we are still held to 
the interpretation that the development and in- 
crease of man's natural endowments are the great 
end of life. For the working out of his own 
salvation, in other words, every man must pri- 
marily aim at making the most of himself. 

The allegory of the Final Judgment, on the 
other hand, makes everything hinge on the extent 


to which men have given heed to and cultivated 
the natural promptings of sympathy. Their pity- 
ing love has gone out to the unfortunate, to the 
hungry, to the captive, to the sick. What an ab- 
solutely different career from that outlined in the 
narrative of the servant who, entering into life's 
conflicts, made his five talents into ten! The 
conscious aim in the one case is helpfulness to 
others, the conscious aim in the other is the 
realization of oneself. It is unnecessary to point 
out that these two representations were not 
regarded by their Author as the contradiction of 
each other. We have only to refer back to His 
formula, "love thy neighbour as thyself," or, 
what is equally important, "love thyself as thy 
neighbour," to recognize the fact that these were 
to Him the two faces of a composite reality, an 
organic truth which we are to work out into a 
concrete, objective experience. 

Turning now from the teachings of Jesus to the 
teachings of nature, we find the fullest endorse- 
ment of the equality of these two principles. 
Altruism, the love of our neighbour, is, generally 
speaking, the softer, the less established, and, as 
a rule, the weaker when the two clash. It there- 
fore demands more of our attention than the other. 
It must be protected from the encroachments of 
selfism. We have to think for it, plan for it, foster 
and nourish it. But it is equally important that 
we do not let the cultivation of the one obstruct 
the full and vigorous action of the other. It is 


the office of the later in development to modify 
and to elevate, not to weaken, the earlier. 

Now let us take a look at this word equality, 
which we have used to characterize the relations 
in which the two principles stand to each other. 
We have seen in another connection how fatally 
easy it is to confuse ourselves by using conceptions 
generated in one realm of thought for the explica- 
tion of relations generated in a totally different 

If we permit the word equality, in this con- 
nection, to bring before us ideas of mechanical 
force, or even of degrees of authority, prestige, 
and the like, we can reduce this claim to an 
absurdity. It becomes a mere matter of words 
quite out of connection with the world of facts. 
Experience shows these two principles associated 
indeed, but not as yet' perfectly adjusted to each 
other. Their limits of jurisdiction are not defi- 
nitely marked out. They are, now and again, 
meeting face to face on narrow roads, where one 
or the other is obliged to give way, and which 
of the two yield must be decided by the circum- 
stances of each particular case. The best life 
is a matter of adjustments, of yielding here, of 
insisting there, in deference to the good of the 
personality and of society as a whole. In other 
words, the only equality between altruism and 
selfism is that which pertains to the parts of an 

From a more comprehensive point of view they 


are seen to be not antagonistic, but mutually 
supporting factors in a living unity. Each sustains 
and promotes the growth and health of the other; 
they also limit, control, restrain each other. They 
are to each other what the heart in a human body 
is as related to the organs of digestion, or what the 
nervous system is as related to these and to the 
muscular system. The welfare of the whole and 
of each one is determined by the normal balance 
which is maintained by their collective action. 

We are familiar with the antagonisms that 
develop themselves in our physical members. 
The unity of the body is, as we know, made up of 
many departments of operation and government 
in which there is great diversity, — the muscular 
system, the nutritive system, the generative 
system, that which governs the circulation of the 
blood, and that which regulates our breathing, — 
and each one of these has its own special centre 
in the nervous system, which, apparently from 
some higher centre, co-ordinates and administers 
the whole as a balanced organism. 

This wonderful complex of organs and activities 
comes to us with all its parts so perfectly adjusted 
to each other that, under normal conditions, we 
know nothing of its working. Each department 
performs its functions silently and rhythmically. 
We are like passengers on a perfectly appointed 
steamer, blissfully ignorant of machinery and 
navigation, and with but little understanding of 
the dangers that beset us. 


But there is no rigidity about this apparently 
perfect order. On the contrary it is characterized 
by great elasticity and variability of adaptation. 
It is like a musical instrument that can be played 
upon with results ranging from discord and vul- 
garity to the most sublime reaches of emotion 
and thought. At a very early stage of our experi- 
ence we discover that the natural and seemingly 
perfect adjustments, that have come to us, have 
to be modified, and further, that some of these 
modifications are strenuously resisted by the old 
order. Antagonisms are developed. The nervous 
system, through which the demands of the govern- 
ing ego are made, finds difficulty with its subordi- 
nates. Extra and unusual labour is laid upon 
them, and restraints, under which they chafe. 
The distinctly animal departments clamour, more 
or less insistently, for liberty of action; and the 
result is sometimes a devastating insurrection. 

Out of such experiences, many times repeated, 
there grows up a definite and persistent recog- 
nition of a duality of interests in our physical 
constitutions ; and the governing personality is im- 
portuned to encourage the one or the other, to the 
discomfiture of its rival. The libertine sides with 
one faction in the development of his animal 
nature; the ascetic with the other, in the hope of 
developing his higher impulses by the suppres- 
sion of the lower. The result in both cases is 
abnormal and, if persisted in, ruinous. Experi- 
ence discloses to us a law written in our members. 


Thou shalt regard and honour and normally 
develop all the departments of that wonderfully 
organized human body that thou hast inherited. 
Thou canst not destroy nor degrade one part, 
without prejudice to the whole. That whole, 
with all its parts, is the outcome of an intelli- 
gence higher and deeper and broader than thine. 
Study and take counsel of it. 

The antagonisms that have been developed are 
very real, they cannot be ignored. But if we 
magnify these to the obscuring of the unity of 
the interests to which all are tributary, we are 
mistaking a side issue for the central and vital 
truth. It is not otherwise when we are confronted 
with the claims of selfism and altruism. When 
these latter are urged upon us from the standpoint 
of an external a thou shalt, " the dominating aspect 
of the situation is that of antagonism, and we 
may be inclined to look upon altruism as an upstart 
principle of action that has hitherto been asso- 
ciated with self-government in a purely subordi- 
nate position; that has existed in its household, 
as it were, on sufferance, without authority, 
without determining influence, the companion 
and solace of our gentler moods, but one never 
allowed to interfere with matters of moment. 

Where battles have had to be fought — and life 
has been a series of battles — love to one's neigh- 
bour has been left at home. Life is a stern busi- 
ness; altruism is weak-hearted: success means 
triumph over opposition; altruism is concession 


and surrender. Each is the contradiction of the 
other; to try to establish them as equals in self- 
government is suicidal. The vital forces that have 
hitherto been directed successfully against foreign 
enemies are now to be occupied in domestic war- 
fare. The new principle neutralizes every effort 
of the old. Progress is brought to a standstill, 
and the man who tries to live by such a for- 
mula is like one struggling in a quicksand. Every 
movement makes his situation more hopeless. 

This is, as I have said, the view of the case that 
haunts us when we think of our formula as a 
mandate from an external source, ordering us to 
revolutionize all our experience of life's possi- 
bilities. But, it is as far removed from the correct 
view as an attack of hysterical alarm is from a 
judicial opinion. It is our inveterate habit to 
measure, at the outset, new principles of action, 
or the readjustment of old principles, by conjuring 
up visions of their extreme application. The con- 
servative instinct of self-protection scents danger, 
and presents the case wholly in the light of its 
difficulties, ignoring the fact that all progressive 
change involves difficulties and the overcoming 
of them. 

The antagonism between the two principles is 
nothing like that presented to our imaginations; 
nor is the affirmed subordination of altruism cor- 
rectly stated. Altruism is a basic principle of 
life, and one which far down in the tribes below 
man has exerted a determining and momentous 


influence. The fact that it has been quieter, less 
obtrusive, and more restricted in its influence 
is not to the purpose. The influence has been 
there, deep set in human nature, and powerful. It 
has been the theme of poetry and art, the moving 
principle of the noblest heroics in every age, and 
under modern conditions it is the source of all our 
higher enthusiasms. 

Under civilization it has become organized and 
conventionalized, run, as it were, into moulds. 
And through this conventionalizing it has been 
transformed. It has taken on the appearance of 
a modified self-interest. The whole social order 
is a complex of adjustment by means of which 
we serve our neighbour in serving ourselves. It is 
next to impossible for us to engage in any health- 
ful activity, beneficial to ourselves, that is not in 
some way helpful to others. And all this organiza- 
tion of interests has been gradually built up by 
man's ingenuity, advancing under the guidance 
of a higher intelligence. Like the human body, 
it moves, for the most part, on its accustomed 
ways without attracting our attention. We have 
been born into it, we are formed and fitted to it. 
Our duties and our privileges lie, for the most 
part, within its sphere. We can serve our neigh- 
bour more effectually, and in the long run more 
acceptably, by working through the order of its 
adjustments than in any other way. 

But, as in the case of the physical organism, 
there is no rigidity about this order. It gives 


play to great freedom of choice for those who 
occupy positions of more or less power, and for 
all, as regards the spirit in which life is lived under 
it. Like the human body, its provisions can be 
distorted from their normal functioning, they can 
be prostituted to base uses, made to serve the 
ends of personal greed and cruelty, and, on the 
other hand, they can be raised to a higher efficiency 
and more harmonious action. Though so intri- 
cate and highly organized, the social order into 
which we are born is, in no wise, a completed one. 
It works, but it works lamely. We accomplish 
great things by its instrumentality, but the vision 
of a better, more universally beneficent order, 
engenders a wholesome dissatisfaction with that 
which has been hitherto achieved. 

Yet we must provisionally accept that which is, 
and make the best of it. Unless we go into seclu- 
sion we must become accomplices in much that 
we deplore. The acceptance of the latter alterna- 
tive is the lesser of two evils; for if good men 
isolate themselves from the heat and conflict of 
the world because of the wickedness of its organ- 
ized working, the world is not thereby made 
better. The only possibility of improvement is 
through the energizing of the good element, the 
increase of the volume of honourable, determined, 
intense living on the part of those who love that 
which is right and true. The character of a 
civilization or a community is expressed neither 
by its laws nor by its proclamations, but by the 


use or abuse, on the part of its members, of the 
liberty that its legal system permits. 

Every man who forms plans, or pursues ends, 
under such a system, does something to give 
tone and character to it. If he plan and work in 
harmony with its spirit, keeping always in his 
heart the principles of fair dealing, restraining 
himself where the law does not coerce him, he 
helps to make the social order that which the 
laws of the land aim at in their provisions. But 
if, on the other hand, he scheme and plot to 
make the laws which protect his interests the 
instruments for invading the interests of others, 
diverting into private channels the forces intended 
to secure the good of all, he is helping to make the 
social order an organized power for oppression 
and robbery. To work worthily and uprightly 
within the established order must therefore, it 
seems to me, be the first aim of one who submits 
himself to our formula. 

The second flows as a corollary from the first. 
Because the social order is an agency of such vital 
importance, and because the creation and elabora- 
tion of it has been, and must be, largely the work 
of man, every intelligent member of society is 
constrained, by the love of his neighbour, to 
keep himself vitally and helpfully, if may be, in 
sympathy with efforts toward its improvement. 
It is a foregone conclusion that many of these 
will prove to be failures. In the social as well as 
in the individual life we live and prosper by making 


experiments. They are often costly, and it must 
be our study, by circumscribing their area, to 
make them as little so as possible. But to ignore 
the imperfections of our social system, to main- 
tain an attitude of indifference toward the hard- 
ships that its working involves, is not consistent 
with love to one's neighbour. 

And again, outside the framework of the estab- 
lished order, there has sprung up an extensive 
and important environment, that of voluntary, 
philanthropic endeavour. Whatever may be said 
in disparagement of our modern civilization, the 
existence of this organized love to one's neighbour 
is a standing and ever-increasing evidence of the 
vitality of the principle of which it is the outcome. 
However numerous the mistakes and however 
serious the blunders that may have characterized 
its development, the spirit that animates it is of 
incalculable value, and no soul of man that works 
sympathetically with it can fail of a rich reward. 

Again, auxiliary to these organized forms is the 
immediate, personal service that we may, in a 
variety of ways, be able to render to those who 
have been worsted in life's battles. All kinds of 
relief or rescue work are, as related to the great 
volume of organized life, side issues; but, as related 
to the individual, they are matters of prime im- 
portance. They are a supplementary work, an 
attempted mitigation of the evils of the social 
mechanism, the binding up of wounds incurred in 
its battles, caring for the victims with which its 


way is strewn. But they are of prime importance 
to the individual because, without some participa- 
tion in them, the best part of one's own soul is 
in danger of becoming atrophied. 

I think we may assume these considerations to 
be sufficient to establish the position that love to 
one's neighbour is organically the correlative of 
love to oneself; that, for the highest results, the 
two must work together, mutually inspiring, sus- 
taining, restraining each other. But how to bring 
about the harmony of working necessary for such 
results is the question. 

The principle that represents self is strongly 
entrenched in the habit of generations. It is an 
aggressive, dominating force that in the course of 
nature overrides all obstacles. The principle that 
stands for love to one's neighbour, though a well- 
defined and, under favorable conditions, a power- 
ful instinct, has not in itself the strength to hold 
its own when brought into conflict with its rival. 
The social organism moreover, though in many 
ways helpful and indispensable, is, at the same 
time, the source of the most intense rivalries and 
antagonisms. It brings men together, makes 
them helpful and necessary to each other, and at 
the same time sets them in such opposition as 
to engender deep-seated hatred. From the same 
source flow kindly relations and diabolical pas- 

Civilization, while it articulates and unifies 
human life, at the same time differentiates and 


separates. Classes become estranged from each 
other. The sweet natural sympathy of a common 
life becomes soured and, like a poison in the blood, 
engenders disease in the place of health. Organ- 
ically related and indispensable to each other as 
altruism and selfism are, therefore, we cannot look 
to them to work out by themselves the problem 
of their normal adjustment. 

This is just where the major clause of the 
Christian formula justifies itself. It is the key- 
stone of the arch that binds together and makes 
mutually supporting tendencies, otherwise antag- 
onistic. It is a mandate not from an external 
source, but one that is rooted in our constitutions. 
It is elemental in human nature because that 
nature shares the divine. It is a command of the 
great intelligence and love that far transcends 
humanity, and yet dwells in every human soul. 
It is the voice of our better selves and, at the 
same time, the voice of God. There is no unnat- 
uralness about it other than the unnaturalness 
that may be predicated of every higher principle 
that has emerged in the process of evolution. It 
involves no antagonism to the principle of love 
to oneself and one's neighbour except that which 
characterizes the complementary forces of an or- 
ganism. It is the outcome of an instinct without 
which human life would be but a lame, inconse- 
quent, abortive episode, but with the recognition 
of which, vistas deep and wide disclose possi- 
bilities of infinite meaning and value. 


Immediately we focalize life from the standpoint 
of this principle, all its parts undergo a radical 
transformation. Nothing remains the same be- 
cause everything, as related to this principle, has 
taken on a higher significance. The most ordinary 
tasks of life are glorified by it. The most hope- 
less antagonisms are reconciled in it. In its 
light the love of one's neighbour, coincidently 
with the love of oneself, are seen to be converging 
lines pointing to a perfect reconciliation. As re- 
lated to the love of God they are seen to be one. 
They attain to an absolute union and solidarity 
in the Being from Whom both have sprung. If, 
assuming tentatively the position of one in whom 
love to God has become a supreme, controlling 
principle, we may imagine ourselves to have 
achieved the state of existence which this point 
of view reveals, the problem is seen to be solved. 
The world, the great process, is no longer a riddle. 
We have, at least, conceived an end worthy of all 
the ages. 

This, it may be said, is building castles in the 
air. But, every attempt to look into the future, 
to provisionally construct that-which-is-to-be, for 
the guidance of our conduct, is of the nature of 
castle building. The important question is, Do 
we build wisely? Is that which we conceive as 
desirable likely to be realized as the actual? 



WE have outlined a theory of the knowl- 
edge of God, and have claimed validity 
for it on the ground that it has been 
thoroughly tested and amply verified in experience. 
But it may fairly be asked: in whose experience? 
Before venturing a direct answer to this question, 
let us glance for a moment at the analogous case 
of science, of that which we provisionally call 
established science. By whose experiences and 
judgments have the conclusions of science been 
established? Not by that of all men, nor by that 
of the generality of men, but by that of a small 
group, or groups, of men who have addressed them- 
selves with absorbing devotion to working out, 
in different departments, the problems of science. 
To the conclusions reached by the concurrent 
judgment of these experts the rest of the world 
defers; that is to say, the intelligent part of it. 
It is content to accept and, more or less, to live 
by these conclusions. Not that they are accepted 
as final; the assent given to them is always provi- 
sional. The scientific deliverances of to-day may 
not be, in all respects, those of to-morrow. Neither 



are these conclusions accepted in all their details. 
The body of science which we may reasonably 
regard as established, fringes off in every direction 
into hypotheses, surmises, guesses, and prophesies 
which win the interest, or approval, of individuals, 
in various degrees. 

Do we feel any less confidence in the conclusions 
of science because they do not appeal to us as 
finalities? On the contrary, although we may not 
be in a position to question the validity of the 
agreements of the men of science, our common- 
sense distrusts them most when they take on the 
tone of finality and absoluteness, when they tell us 
that, in this, or that, direction, they have touched 
bottom, that there are no realities unfathomable by 
their methods, and that all reality must conform 
to the physical laws which they have formulated. 
We feel the greatest confidence in them when 
we know that they recognize their limitations. 

More than this, it is true that the characteristics 
of openness, incompleteness, progressiveness, con- 
stitute the greatest value of science to human 
thought. The scientific spirit is of more vital 
importance than the whole body of scientific 
achievement. The conviction that the world of 
man is growing, daily expanding and deepening, 
revealing new vistas for exploration, new possi- 
bilities of realization — this is the secret, the 
motive power that generates the energy and the 
enthusiasm of all modernism. It is this that 
gives zest to life even in the midst of weariness, 


that makes the future glow with expectancy 
though the present be discouraging. 

The criticisms so often aimed at the materialism 
of the modern world and the comparisons made 
between it and times of less progressive thought- 
fulness, to the disparagement of the former, have 
no truth in them except as related to surface 
manifestations. Those more conservative ages 
of reflection had their charm to those who lived 
in them; their outlooks upon life, though limited, 
were often very beautiful, and they have a much 
enhanced charm for us who look back to them 
from the hurry and changefulness of our day, 
but, as compared with the present, those ages 
were only half alive. 

Now let us turn back to the question of re- 
ligious experience. Of whose experience were we 
speaking when we were advocating its use as the 
foundation of religious belief? Essentially and 
potentially of the experience of every normal 
individual of the human race. Primarily and 
actually of the experience of the religiously 
advanced members of it. It is the experience of 
those who have, as in science, addressed them- 
selves with absorbing devotion to working out the 
problems of religion. Let me call attention to 
the difference, wide as eternity, between this 
kind of foundation and that offered by a church 
claiming divine authority. Up to a certain point, 
as Cardinal Newman has shown, the analogy 
between the authoritative Church of Rome and 


the body of men eminent in science holds, and 
the argument that, as we defer to the conclusions 
reached by the concurrent judgment of scientific 
experts, so we ought to defer to the deliverances 
of the Church, seems valid. As we accept results, 
the reasons for which we cannot understand, from 
the one, so ought we to accept them from the 

There could not be a greater fallacy. We have 
already noted that the assent given to the de- 
liverances of scientific men is of a radically differ- 
ent kind from that demanded by the authority 
of the Church. It is only a provisional, tentative 
assent that is asked for, or given, to the conclusions 
of science. It is an absolute, final assent involv- 
ing the suppression of all individual criticism 
that is demanded by the Church. But this only 
scratches the surface of the difference. Under- 
neath the kind of assent asked for, lies the method 
by which the beliefs to which adhesion is asked 
have been reached. That of the Church com- 
mands our acceptance on the ground that its 
doctrines emanate from a source altogether 
distinct from that to which we must trace the 
common-sense wisdom by which we live. It is, 
in fact, the reverse of the method which obtains 
in ordinary, practical affairs. In the one case the 
beliefs have been communicated directly, in all 
their completeness and absoluteness, from an 
infallible, authoritative source; in the other they 
have been worked out, laboured for, reached, 


after much travail of research and experiment, 
and as the outcome of many failures. 

The one is claimed to be divine wisdom miracu- 
lously imparted, the truth of an omniscient, all- 
wise mind, that must take precedence over every 
other kind of truth, superseding and extinguishing 
it, if not agreeable to it. The other is human 
wisdom, wisdom in the making, incomplete, inade- 
quate, imperfect, looking ever to the future for 
its enlargement and correction. 

The inductive theology, which we advocate, 
abolishes altogether this antagonism, this theory 
of two sources of wisdom, two methods of ac- 
quiring it. It finds but one kind of wisdom 
emanating from one source; that is, the co- 
operative working of the human and the divine. 
The practical wisdom of everyday life, the scien- 
tific wisdom of those who have devoted themselves 
to the discovery of nature's secrets, the religious 
wisdom of those who have given themselves to the 
study of life's higher problems — all these are on 
the same footing as regards source and method, 
and each, in its own sphere, has a like claim to our 
allegiance. Each of them has a divine element, 
each has a human element. Each one, in its own 
way, is a revelation of God and also a revelation 
of man and, all taken together, they illustrate 
how God is related to man and what dispositions 
man should cultivate toward God. 

With such an understanding we have the same 
foundation for a free-working theology that we 


have for a free-working science, and we have the 
same reason to anticipate the building up of a 
body of stable belief in the one department as 
in the other. With such a theology there is no 
foundation whatever for the assumption that, 
in the absence of an authoritative church, all 
religion must tend to pure individualism and 
disintegration. There is no such necessity in the 
nature of things. In religion, as in other things, 
" wisdom is justified of her children." There will 
always be dissent and cavilling, because there is 
always a multitude of people about us who know 
not their right hand from their left in these matters. 
But there will also be a strong, vigorous, growing 
body of belief for the guidance and encourage- 
ment of the seekers after God. Nor need we 
confine ourselves to the future tense in speaking 
of these things. 

The future is more exhilarating with its promise 
of better things to come, but it is permitted to 
speak also of the present and find in it abun- 
dant assurance. The process of theological and 
religious transformation in the midst of which we 
live necessarily involves the tearing down of much 
that was held sacred in other days; and destruction 
on a large scale always arrests and holds the atten- 
tion of the multitude far more than the opposite 
process of building up. The former is effected 
rapidly, it is spectacular, startling, and, if brought 
about in the way of warfare, with varying episodes 
of rally and retreat, it adds to its tragic interest 


that of partisanship. The process of reconstruction, 
on the other hand, is slow, tentative, for the most 
part, attracting little attention; it is accompanied 
by failures and temporary set-backs, and often 
discredited by work that has to be done over again. 
But spite of all hindrances the re-formation 
of doctrine is well on the way to general recogni- 
tion. While attention has been held spellbound 
by the destruction wrought in the old structures, 
it has been quietly maturing strength. It has 
not been the work of conventions nor of councils. 
It has been sparingly recognized in high places; 
nor will it ever have the stamp of finality and 
infallibility. It has been elaborated, in travail 
of soul, by individuals and communities. It has 
been the natural growth of the human spirit 
bursting the fetters by which it has been bound 
for centuries, slowly and painfully becoming 
aware of the vital forces pulsating within it and 
awakening to the consciousness of the glorious 
possibilities of a new-found liberty. And nothing 
is farther from the truth than the frequently made 
charge that all this new constructive effort is 
divergent. It presents us, indeed, with a variety 
of aspects, it is accompanied by erratic move- 
ments; but it is also characterized by an under- 
lying unity of principle and motive. This, its 
positive side, is the only one worth attention; 
the other aspects are of passing significance, the 
chips that fly from the hewing of grand building 


We may say of our modern civilization that it 
goes on wheels. But all wheels are not the same 
kind of wheels. There are the wheels of ox-carts 
and the wheels of baby-wagons, wheels of motor- 
cars that rush us over the earth's surface, and 
wheels in our pockets that mark the time they 
take to do it in, great driving-wheels that run 
the complex machinery of a factory and smaller 
wheels that are moved by it. But, with all 
this multiplicity of wheels, differing from each 
other, there is one wheel-principle. Each kind 
does its own work in its own way, but in every 
case it is the work of a wheel, whether it be that 
of a locomotive or that of a pulley. 

So it is with the great elemental truths of reli- 
gion. They admit of many forms of statement and 
of application, — varying and progressive adjust- 
ments; but in every case this variety emanates 
from a unity that admits of the most categorical 
authoritative statement. There is no uncertainty 
about this, there is no possibility of evasion. It 
is absolute in its finality. It represents necessity. 
It is the one and only principle leading to pro- 
gressive well-being. "This do, and thou shalt 

Thus, the great Christian formula is expressed 
in the terms of an uncompromising mandate, 
Thou shalt. It is the law. Not simply the 
Jewish law, nor its digest, but the essential all- 
comprehensive law of our being. And when it 
is complied with, when it is converted from the 


general into the particular, realized in the actual 
experience of the individual, it transforms all 
those differences of view, which from the outside 
look so divergent, into varying expressions of an 
essential oneness of spirit, — into that most effi- 
cient kind of unity that is grounded in identity of 
desire, of aspiration, of enthusiasm. 

But it is just here that many find an in- 
superable difficulty. The way of life is seen to 
be not only narrow and difficult, but its gate 
locked and bolted against the generality of men. 
Can love, it is asked, be called into being by the 
will? Does not love cease to be love if it is not 
spontaneous? To many the thought of an 
achieved love is a profanation of sacred things. 

There has certainly been much in our educa- 
tion to foster such a sentiment. Because love is 
so beautiful, so life-giving, so transforming and 
sustaining in its influences, we have abstracted it, 
personified and idealized it. It is a mysterious 
something, outside and superior to us, that comes 
unbidden and takes possession of us, a something 
sacred that we are not at liberty to control nor 
oppose. In poetry, in romantic stories, in the 
drama, this view of love has been continually set 
before us, and to a certain extent we have hon- 
oured it; but in practical life we, for the most 
part, protest against it. It is not all a lie. But 
in its unqualified form it is a most pernicious 
and demoralizing lie. 

It is a strange delusion that love, the most 


precious, the most powerful, the great saving 
agency of the world, is one over which we have 
no control. Not that, in this respect, it consti- 
tutes a category by itself. Faith, which is the 
condition of it, has shared its segregation. When 
our late leader in psychology gave us, a few years 
ago, an essay entitled, "The Will to Believe," 
there was a great outcry on the part of many. 
The idea that a man's beliefs can be, and ought 
to be, regulated, to a great extent, by his will 
was denounced as immoral. Such a view, it 
was affirmed, carried within it the seeds of insin- 
cerity and constructive hypocrisy. 

Now, is there to be found in experience any 
good reason for isolating these two, faith and love, 
from all the other activities of the soul? We are 
not slow to recognize the part which our wills 
play as regards these others. The very founda- 
tion of our conception of ourselves as responsible 
beings rests upon the recognition of the fact that 
we, to a great degree, make ourselves what we are, 
that we are free to cultivate habits that collectively 
constitute character. To live aright, to work 
wisely for our own salvation, is to give the 
strength of our lives to the formation of habits. 
The highest possibilities of being, toward the 
realization of which we press, are habits. 

We cultivate the habit of courage, not only 
because it is necessary for success in life's conflicts, 
but, because without it no man can feel himself to 
be a man. We cultivate fear also, lest courage 


should degenerate into rashness. We cultivate 
enthusiasm because, in its absence, we find no 
joy in the tasks we have set for ourselves. We 
cultivate patience because enthusiasm, by itself, 
overshoots the mark, tends to aggressiveness and 
intolerance, becomes transformed into bitterness 
and discouragement. We cultivate sensitiveness 
in order that we may understand the finer meanings 
of life. We cultivate indifference to defend our- 
selves not only against its coarser solicitations, 
but also its false and foolish refinements. We 
cultivate the social spirit that we may not be 
estranged from our fellowmen. We cultivate the 
power of living a life apart from society lest all 
our energy should run to waste in its trivi- 
alities. We cultivate generosity and we culti- 
vate thrift. We cultivate industry, endurance, 
forbearance. We cultivate, in the largest sense, 

When we come to the formation of specific 
aptitudes, it is the same. We become proficients 
in no branch of art or science, experts in no pro- 
fession except by intelligently directed will power, 
— by cultivation, training, discipline. We begin 
with nothing, or next to nothing, — a little mother- 
wit, a predilection or hint of fitness for this or that 
pursuit; the rest is done by faithful attention 
and effort, so far as we are concerned, and by the 
creative spirit of God working with us in response 
to our prayers of endeavour. 

Now, while we recognize this as the order of 


becoming, in all that makes for self-realization in 
life's utilities, must we settle down to the con- 
viction that the most efficient, most dominating 
qualities of the soul belong to a sphere that is 
outside our influence? — that we have no control 
over those master-powers by means of which, 
alone, all the other more or less conflicting aims 
of life can be co-ordinated, organized, and made to 
work for one great end? If so, let us count human 
life a progressive futility, and man a moral 

If we have not the power to shape our convic- 
tions, if we cannot, by the exercise of the will, 
determine and temper them for action, then the 
increase of intelligence makes us increasingly 
helpless. The more we know, the worse off we are. 
For the extension of knowledge continually opens 
new aspects of things. With a small amount of 
knowledge it was possible for us to come to definite 
conclusions and give ourselves with whole-hearted- 
ness to acting upon them. But, with the ability 
to look on the other side of this, that, and the 
other question, come the divided mind, hesitation, 
inaction, and a growing paralysis of the executive 
faculty. Every man of affairs knows this well 
enough, and owes all his successes to acting upon 
it. It is a commonplace of experience that a man 
who cannot make up his mind arrives nowhere. 
And it is quite as necessary that minds be made up 
in the realm of spiritual beliefs as in that of secular 


It is not a matter of suppressing our honest 
convictions in the one case any more than in the 
other. It is our duty to receive and weigh all the 
evidence and all the inducements that present 
themselves, and if, when all has been said and 
done, the two sides seem to be evenly balanced, 
we have to decide by sheer force of will, and fight 
it out on that line. 

As matter of fact, this evenness of balance is 
a hypothetical rather than an actual situation 
except as regards unimportant issues, those in 
which one way is just about as good as another. 
In problems of greater moment, when we have 
been hopelessly befogged in our efforts to solve 
them on their own merits, there are usually 
larger considerations that help to clear the 
atmosphere. The appeal to thesq is like that 
to a higher court, and it is just here that our 
method can be applied most effectively. The 
issues brought before this higher court relate to 
the practical effects of a decision upon the individ- 
ual and upon society. Of two antagonistic pro- 
positions, does the adoption of one promise better 
results in actual life than the other? Does the 
one give courage and strength to men in the midst 
of life's warfare? Does the other tend to apathy 
and demoralization? 

The problems of theology are specially in point 
here. Take, for instance, those two that stand 
at the head of the list. Is there a benevolent God 
working with man in the affairs of the world? 


May the career of the individual life be continued 
after the dissolution of the body? A formidable 
array of arguments may be brought for a negative 
answer to both of these questions, some of them 
grounded in actual experience. Equally weighty 
considerations may be urged for an affirmative 
answer. And looking, now on this side and now 
on that, it may seem that no decision is possible. 
Shall we then rest the case here and content our- 
selves with the ineptitude of Agnosticism? Or, 
recognizing that no answer to these great questions 
is practically a negative answer, shall we set our- 
selves to determine what resultants are likely to 
flow from a negative and what from a positive 
answer? If we adopt this latter course we make 
an appeal from logic to life. 

We seek enlightenment as to the good and the 
bad, the true and the false in spiritual beliefs 
from the same instructors that have taught us 
and our ancestors to distinguish between foods 
and poisons, between normal tissue and gangrene, 
between the air that gives life and vigour when 
we breathe it and that which depresses and cor- 
rupts the system. We have learned what kind of 
convictions it is well to encourage and what to 
eradicate, as a farmer knows, through his own and 
inherited experience, the difference between re- 
munerative crops and weeds, the difference be- 
tween soil that will yield him nothing and that 
which will respond to the labour he bestows upon 
it. As, in the one set of relations, experience has 


guided us to a wise selection of means for the 
promotion of physical well-being, so in the other 
set of relations, experience must be trusted to 
guide us to a reliable choice of the beliefs that will 
sustain and advance our spiritual welfare. 

If, as regards the two great questions above 
noted, it appears that an affirmative answer works 
for the encouragement of all that is good in life, 
if it makes men strong, earnest, self-controlled, if it 
meets the great desideratum by giving something 
that is in every way worth living for, if it is an 
answer that, in its comprehensiveness, takes up all 
other beliefs and ends, co-ordinates, unifies, com- 
bines them all in organic efficiency, if its employ- 
ment receives the endorsement of those vital 
impulses that we instinctively recognize as the 
noblest and most authoritative, giving us the un- 
reasoned conviction that we are moving in the 
right direction; while, on the other hand, a nega- 
tive answer brings no helpfulness in its train, no 
outlook into a future of spiritual realization to 
nerve us for the conflicts of the present, no lighting 
up of the great world-process, nothing to hope for 
beyond the disappointing things of our mundane 
life, nothing to be loyal to, nothing of that joy 
that comes from the consciousness of movement 
toward something better, the divine sense of 
expectation, that makes present trials and sacri- 
fices seem light, if, in our own experience and in the 
lives of others, its fruits are in the long run indif- 
ference, apathy, cynicism — then, the will must 


decide for the affirmative and see that its judg- 
ment is made effectual. 

It is the contention of our method that such 
an appeal is legitimate, and not only so, but that 
the decisions thus reached are things not to be 
laid on the shelf for academic use, but things to 
live by. They are of momentous importance. 
Having reached this point, a mere formal assent 
is criminal neglect of duty and opportunity. We 
are bound to give the whole strength of our 
adhesion and the whole volume of our loyalty 
to them. We must become partisans and in 
dead earnest, for these are matters of spiritual 
life and death. 

The will must take control of the situation and 
rule with a masterful sway. It can do this, 
through its two strong arms of attention and 
inhibition. A man's responsibility centres very 
much in the use which he makes of these two 
faculties. Their strength varies in different in- 
dividuals all the way from zero to almost absolute 
sway. They are the muscles of the soul, that 
may be trained to moral athleticism by judicious 
use, or relaxed and devitalized by neglect. Happy 
is he who, when the critical moment for action has 
arrived, has a well-trained will at his command. 

The time for discussion has passed. There is to 
be no more looking on this side and on that. There 
is, henceforth, but one set of arguments to be 
considered. As regards these two vital questions, 
everything that is affirmative is to have its full 


and unqualified weight. The will converts intelli- 
gence, for its uses, into a bull's-eye lantern, con- 
centrating all its rays upon the truths that its 
authority has established; and it brings to bear 
upon any hostile considerations that would force 
themselves into the light, its grand and saving 
power of inhibition, — the power that pounces 
upon unlawful intruders and pitches them out, 
neck and heels. At this stage the only sane 
answer to all negation is, "Get thee behind me, 

Not that we have reached a point beyond which 
there is no further growth. We have only just 
begun. Both these beliefs, — the affirmation of 
God and of the future life, — are living roots that 
must be cultivated; they have within them the 
potency of eternal life, there is no limit to their 
growth, nor to the variety of the fruits they may 
be made to produce in different lives. But, in all 
soils they must be nourished and protected by 
the will that has planted them. And here let us 
make sure that we apprehend clearly another 
aspect of the situation which, while it belongs 
altogether to the sphere of modern thought, is at 
the same time vital. 

All the deductions from experience that we have 
just reviewed, as conducive to spiritual well-being, 
have to do with purely human relations. They 
are, in other words, adjustments to specific re- 
quirements of the human organism. Granting, 
therefore, all that has been said of their trust- 



worthiness and practical helpfulness, how are 
we justified in advancing from this position to 
the assumption that these same relations are a 
guide to any reality that is outside and independent 
of them? 

I answer that, in evolution, the revelation of all 
reality as one great world-process moving toward 
constructions of higher and still higher values, we 
have a most instructive and sufficient warrant for 
the assumption that, when we have discovered that 
which makes for its furtherance in the line of 
highest achievement, we have grasped something 
which we may safely hold to be an independent 

In the earlier stages of our argument we 
were constrained to regard man as the latest, 
most highly evolved factor in the great drama of 
progressive organization; and we were able, still 
further, to narrow the issue by fixing upon certain 
phases of human development as constituting the 
vital principle of its future. When, therefore, 
we have determined the conditions that conduce 
to the prosperity, the growth, and the health of 
those qualities of humanity that are not only the 
highest on the scale, but which explain, co-ordi- 
nate, and govern all the others, the whole great 
process of the ages flows in an irresistible volume 
to turn the wheels of our argument. In determin- 
ing the status of the one factor, man, we have 
laid bare the secret of secrets, the reality and the 
meaning of the world. 


But, we must return to the consideration of the 
first and great commandment, " Thou shalt love." 
All that has been said, as to the functions of the 
will in the establishment and mobilization of 
faith, applies equally to love. But, we cannot rest 
the matter there. Love is a far more illusive word 
than faith. For, while it connotes the highest 
activities of the soul, it also stands for some which 
are near the other end of the scale. A more 
extended and discreet study, therefore, of the 
relations of will-power to love will be essayed in 
the next chapter. 


life's lesser enthusiasms 

God gives us love. Something to love 
He lends us; but when love is grown 

To ripeness, that on which it throve 
Falls off, and love is left alone." 

THE word love has as many significations 
as there are objects to which it may be 
applied and, again, as many as there 
are individuals to make application of it. To 
give a definition of it is impossible. No descrip- 
tion can do more than point out characteristics 
of some of its particular manifestations. In 
the last resort it is known to us as an elemental 
factor in evolution. As we trace it back to its 
simplest forms, we cannot stop when we reach 
what seems to us the limits of conscious life. Its 
basic principle is operative throughout organic 
nature. Chemical affinity as well as the phenom- 
ena of magnetism and crystallization afford us 
the most striking analogues of that wonderful 
element which, even in the most highly evolved 
ranges of being, still persists as an instinctive, 
non-rational principle of action. 



Not that it persists in this form alone. Its 
instinctive characteristics have been profoundly 
modified by intelligence. There is an unreason- 
ing, mysterious element in every kind of love, 
but there is also, and increasingly, an intelligent 
side to it. We still love more or less blindly, but 
ever, more and more, our eyes are opened to 
understand why we love, and with this illumina- 
tion comes also the knowledge and the ability to 
direct, regulate, and turn to the best account that 
elemental power which nature generates for us. 

Another, hardly less conspicuous and pro- 
foundly modifying effect of intelligence, is the 
multiplication of the outlets of love and of the 
objects on which it expends itself. In the sim- 
plicity of primitive life, love finds only a few well- 
worn grooves in which to run. The old, old story 
repeats itself with varying incidents and intensity 
through the ages. The love of parent for child 
and that of offspring for parent broaden out into 
devotion to the head of the tribe. There is, 
further, the love of the chase and of war, of the 
favorite horse and dog, of weapons and ornaments, 
of the fetish and of the consecrated hearth. The 
volume and intensity of the love that so satisfies 
itself may vary greatly, but there is almost no 
lateral expansion, no formation of new channels. 

To this the complex life of civilization affords 
a contrast of very great significance. Instead of 
being forced into a few stereotyped ways, love 
finds for itself innumerable little outlets to the 


multiplication of which, as life grows more elabo- 
rate, there is no end. We find many made for 
us, and we continually make new ones while we 
consciously close others. For the beginnings of 
these lesser loves which we make for ourselves 
little more is needed than a degree of admiration 
combined with attention. Loves of this kind are 
continually springing up within us in connection 
with the thousand and one influences that, in the 
course of a normal life, touch our feelings and 
call forth our sympathetic regard. We love the 
flowers, the sweet influences of the changing 
seasons, the solemn majesty of the forest, the 
wind in the tree-tops, the light of dawn and of 
the setting sun. 

We love individual men and women in the same 
passing way, not only those whom we meet 
bodily, but those also who form for us an image in 
the mind, the personalities that historians and 
gifted writers of romance have created. In 
every case what we love is more or less an idealiza- 
tion, conceived either by ourselves or by some 
other artist. It is perhaps only a little spark of 
love that goes out to each one of these objects 
in turn, a passing attention that, anon, devotes 
itself to other interests. But it is the true thing. 
The heart has been touched in the right way. 
And if the soul be in good health, we are the better, 
every time, for the experience, — better physically, 
mentally, spiritually. What sunshine does for 
the ripening fruits, elaborating in them the higher 


qualities of flavour and beauty and perfume, that, 
these lesser loves, these repeated, though short- 
lived activities of the heart, do for the ripening 
and refining of the character. 

I have said that these are of as many different 
kinds as there are individuals to love, or objects 
and interests to call forth love. But, we may 
classify them, trace them to a limited number of 
sources, and study them with a view to larger 

Various lines of classification suggest themselves. 
The love of persons constitutes one great group 
by itself. The love of things seems altogether 
and quite distinct from it. And again, the love 
of interests, ambitions, ideals, is a third group. 
And fourthly, there is the vague, mystical realm 
in which love dwells, as it were, in a more or less 
disembodied and unattached form, — the realm 
of the aesthetic, a half-understood, untranslatable, 
but, very real world. In this upper stratum of 
feeling we grow into the love of the highest kinds 
of music, of whatsoever is noble in poetry, in 
literature, and in art. It is here also that we are 
drawn into that pure, uplifting worship which 
we call the love of nature, and here, greatest of 
all, springs the love that, gathering all other 
loves into one, seeks and finds an embodiment, 
a spiritual entity, that it may worship with an 
absolute, whole-souled devotion. 

Another scheme of classification that separates 
our loves into quite distinct groups is that which 


regards them as related to the past, the present, 
or the future. Each of these groups has its own 
peculiar characteristics. The loves that are wholly 
of the present are rooted in the joy of possession. 
That which is loved may be beautiful, or valuable 
in the eyes of the world generally, or it may not. 
The ground of love is the consciousness of personal 
proprietorship. The rag-baby, that is caressed 
and petted to the neglect of the magnificent 
productions of the shop, is the type of this form 
of devotion, — "a poor thing, but mine own." 
From this root grows the passion for the absolute 
ownership of a bit of land, loved not because it 
is remunerative, but because it is personal. Here 
also belongs the passion for owning that which 
is unique, or rare, or very difficult of attainment; 
and again the love of a secret, the knowing of 
that which others do not know; and akin to this, 
also, the love of being the first to discover what 
has hitherto been a secret of nature, or an unknown 
country, or being able to give the world some- 
thing original in the way of thought or invention. 
It may be the passionate and jealous love of 
a person. Mine! mine! mine! is the cry of 
the lover. Mine own! the fruit of my body, 
mine to love, to live for, to educate, is the exulting 
soul-song of the parent. We often hear it said 
that love is unselfish. It has its unselfish side. 
But it is also the most actively, violently selfish 
principle of which we have any knowledge. 
Nothing is so cruel, so revengeful, so utterly 


implacable as love. Love, of some kind, is the 
root of all selfishness. What is selfishness but 
self-love run to excess and madness? though self- 
love in its normality is the very spring and motive 
power of all our higher life. It is no more to be 
deprecated than any other kind of love. As 
compared with other kinds it is primus inter 
pares, because all other kinds depend upon it. 
It is the living root from which they spring and 
draw their nourishment. 

Turning now to the loves of the past, those 
which have their attachments in bygone experi- 
ences. These are the loves of actual life, trans- 
figured, softened, idealized. Memory has dropped 
the coarser elements, the restless, anxious, dis- 
turbing elements, and cast over all a glamour like 
that of twilight. It is not all distinctness, nor 
all vagueness, but the two are mingled. Memo- 
ries that we love to dwell upon stand out clear 
in the pictured past, set in less well-defined but 
hallowed associations; and, beyond these, 

. . . "those first affections, 

Those shadowy recollections, 

Which be they what they may, 

Are yet the fountain-light of all our day, 

Are yet a master-light of all our seeing." 

We, as a rule, recognize but faintly how much 
we owe to these loves of the past, not alone for 
the refinement and solace of life, but also for its 
stability and its inspiration. 


The idealized past and the idealized future join 
hands to pull us through the conflicts and dis- 
tractions of the garish present. The two stand 
in the sharpest contrast to each other; the past 
calling us to reflection and contemplative admira- 
tion, the future thrilling us with desire for action. 
The loves of the past bring human experiences 
before us in such a form that we can appropriate 
them, brood over them, and by oft-repeated com- 
munion, assimilate them. Our imaginations form 
themselves upon them, acquire habits of admiring 
and loving that which is best worth loving. 
That which has been adorable, the heroism, the 
fidelity, the heart-kindness, and devotion of those 
with whom we have associated, not only in our 
immediate lives, but also in the pages of history 
and romance, become enshrined in our hearts as 
very real things; and in them we find, ready to 
our hand, the tested and approved materials with 
which to construct those ideals for future realiza- 
tion which become the lodestars of our active, 
evolving souls. 


To estimate justly the bearing of these minor 
enthusiasms upon the great end of life we must 
look at them from more than one point of view. 
One that readily suggests itself is furnished by 
the analogical likeness which they bear to the 
plants and flowers which the earth brings forth 
of itself. The whole course of our lives is glad- 


dened by these wild-springing products of the 
soul, and, as in nature the plants and flowers 
that the earth brings forth spontaneously are the 
foundation of all that has been achieved in agri- 
culture and horticulture, by selection and culti- 
vation, so also it is in the improved fields and 
gardens of the soul. It is the lesser loves that 
lead up to the greater ones. It is the transient, 
fragmentary, sporadic worships that show us 
the way to that which is permanent. And in 
the one case as in the other, the desirable out- 
come is reached only by persistent and pains- 
taking effort. 

We may, indeed, profitably carry this analogy 
further and say that, as in the one realm so 
in the other, an essential preliminary is always 
the intelligent selection of those specific natural 
products which are best worth conserving and 
improving. That we are daily throwing away 
invaluable opportunities may be assumed as cer- 
tain when we look back upon the years and ages 
that men have passed in blindness to potentiali- 
ties which, when later revealed, seemed as evident 
as sunlight. These potentialities have, so to 
speak, run to waste, wearing channels in our 
experience, but helping us on only in the most 
incidental ways. We have enjoyed them, have 
amused ourselves with them, have taken toll of 
them, but how faintly have we understood their 
meaning and their possibilities! What are they? 
Whence have they come to us? Are they any- 


thing more than the fleeting moods of a highly- 
sensitive nervous structure? And if so, if they 
are more, what implications as to deeper signifi- 
cance do they involve? 

It will help us to determine the more if we 
recognize fully that they are this, — the moods 
of a highly sensitive nervous organism. They 
are the responses of that organism to a most 
varied and heterogeneous environment. And we 
have to recognize further the fact that they are 
what they are, because the constitution of that 
organism is what it is. We are instruments, so 
constructed and attuned to the world, that 
strains harmonious, or discordant, are produced 
when we are played upon. 

And here another factor comes into view, — 
the agency that plays upon us. In one case it 
is, apparently, an impersonal, unbidden influence, 
that sweeps over and through us as the wind 
through the strings of an seolian harp. At another 
time it is an influence flowing from some well- 
defined external source: this may be an event, 
it may be a vision of something that appeals to 
hope and expectation; it may be the influence 
of other persons acting through sympathy, per- 
suasion, or attraction. And lastly, it may be 
an influence generated and operated within the 
sphere of one's own volitional self. Each one of 
these classes is deeply significant, both in itself 
considered and also as related to the other classes, 
for each one throws light upon the other. 


To begin with the influences that work upon 
us from without. Such influences find, in every 
case, an inborn germ to work upon. For that 
germ we are not responsible; for its incubation 
and growth to maturity, we are. Now let us 
give our attention to the fact that the innumerable 
influences of this kind by which we are importuned 
are in the general consensus of human estimation, 
ranged on a fairly well-defined scale of values. 
Choosing one set of influences, we have produced 
within us enthusiasms of a low order; choosing 
another, we reach toward the highest. The 
lower ones are the more easy of development. 
They are quickly and cheaply brought to ma- 
turity, and in many cases they are ephemeral, 
leaving us as easily as they came. But when 
they are recurrent, repetition brings forth habit, 
and habit means mastery. 

The production of this class of enthusiasms 
occupies a very large share of the world's atten- 
tion, partly because they cost so little and partly 
because they can be made so useful by those 
who exploit their fellowmen. They can be manu- 
factured, so to speak, by administering drugs 
to the system, — alcohol, nicotine, opium. They 
can be promoted by a frenzy of speculation 
helped on by a brass band! They can be gener- 
ated by all kinds of sporting competition and 
games, with money- wagers for accessories. They 
rise to fever-heat in political crises, and they 
have, through all the ages, characterized unreg- 


ulated religious movements. But, on the other 
hand, they have innumerable gentler devel- 
opments. Spontaneous affection, the love of 
nature and the love of music, the love of any 
kind of graceful or exhilarating motion, the mere 
exuberance of health, — all these, in their simpler 
manifestations, belong to this same great class. 
Different as they are in their qualities and ten- 
dencies, they have one important characteristic 
in common, that is the ease with which they are 

For the most part they are permitted, as 
distinguished from cultivated, enthusiasms. They 
come very largely without our solicitation and, 
if we allow it, run their own course without 
demanding effort from us. Some of them we 
recognize as altogether mischievous and destruc- 
tive. Many of them, on the other hand, are 
the first glimmerings of a light that may be made 
to flood our whole lives. They cannot develop 
these possibilities of themselves, but they can 
be the assistants, the indispensable coadjutors, 
of a higher range of enthusiasms, the distin- 
guishing characteristic of which is a passion for 

These are the active, energizing enthusiasms, 
that reach out on all sides for the materials and 
the power with which to realize themselves. And 
the true significance of the first class is never 
realized except as its enthusiasms are taken up 
into and made to serve the second. These higher, 


masterful enthusiasms are the constructors of 
character and of society. They make men, they 
build up the body politic. They carry the race 
on to higher and still higher planes of evolution. 
But, no more than the first class are they all good. 
They tend to evil as energetically as they tend 
to good. And also, like the former class, if 
restricted simply to the development of their 
own blind careers, they end in nothingness. 
Their true significance lies in a something beyond, 
a something which they, from this side and that, 
suggest and foreshadow, but which no one of 
them, in its isolation, can ever reach. Each one 
of our nobler enthusiasms carries us up to a 
borderland of wonderment and there leaves us. 
It shows us that there is a beyond, it suggests 
that it contains values far greater than any that 
we have known, but it cannot tell us anything 


Now for a somewhat different point of view. 
In all our thought, thus far, we have objectified 
these influences, treated them as something not- 
ourselves, things springing up within us, but not 
a part of us, agents that act upon us and upon 
which we in turn react. But now we have to 
remind ourselves that this way of regarding them 
is purely provisional. Really and essentially these 
springing enthusiasms are ourselves. Each one, 
as it makes its appearance, is the realization of 


a new phase of the soul. It opens to us new 
possibilities of being, new modes of feeling. In 
short, it introduces us to a self in some respects 
quite different from any self that we have known 

But to what does this bring us? a plurality 
of selves? To say this would be misleading; 
yet experiences that suggest such a state of 
things are familiar to every one of us. A perfect 
unity of personality is a condition not-yet- 
achieved; it is an ideal toward which we are 
moving, and a conspicuous feature of our present 
stage of self-realization is, even with those most 
advanced, its fragmentariness. Though we know 
the self we are trying to realize to be a unity, a 
personality, the one indivisible reality of our con- 
sciousness, yet we have to recognize the fact that 
we know ourselves largely in detachments, — 
almost, in fact, as if we were not one, but a com- 
munity of more or less heterogeneous individuals 
associated in one household. 

We are prone to characterize others as incon- 
sistent and to find fault with them because they 
show us different sides of their many-sided selves 
at different times. Or, perhaps, if we do not 
find fault we mentally apologize for what we call 
their moods; and yet, if we have the smallest 
amount of self-knowledge, we know ourselves 
to be quite different people at different times, 
and not infrequently, in moments of indecision, 
a number of different people at the same time. 


In other words, that gradual organization of 
experience that builds up the conscious-self 
within us proceeds not in one line, but in many, 
sometimes apparently divergent, lines. 

Now, in order to accomplish anything in this 
world, we have to concentrate. This means 
conscious organization, a more or less determined 
realization of self in a chosen direction, and it 
also involves turning our backs for a time, at 
least, on a number of other interests that may 
be the specialties of our friends and neighbours. 
I have said this is a necessity. It is also an evil, 
not simply in the general way of being a limita- 
tion ; it is a positive evil, in that it has a tendency 
to contract and distort that self which asks for 
a symmetrical, comprehensive development. Only 
in a few cases do we encounter the extreme of 
this tendency. And when we do, we call it 
insanity, monomania. But we know that we 
all have the seeds of this kind of insanity within 
us whenever we are in earnest about anything. 

For the preservation of that mental balance 
which we call sanity we are confronted with 
another necessity. We are constrained to give 
ourselves heartily to the cultivation of some 
other interest, or interests, which are for the time 
quite unassociated with this one to which we have 
pledged ourselves. Ordinarily, environment pre- 
sents us with invitations, more or less urgent, 
in a variety of directions. Family and social 
life put in their claims for a share of our attention, 


and, if we respond to these heartily, letting an 
appreciable volume of our sympathy and vitality 
go out to them, we realize a self that is quite 
distinct from the self that is developed in our 
business, or profession. In every kind of recrea- 
tion, in every kind of keen enjoyment, we come 
upon a somewhat different self, that sometimes 
surprises us beyond measure. And this surprise, 
this discovery of new capabilities, is the source 
of our greatest pleasure when we turn from one 
occupation to another. 

Repeated experiences of this kind of pleasure 
give rise in many to a craving for constant change, 
that defeats the ends of self-realization by the 
absence of continuity. We become so many 
selves that we have no particular self. We lack 
individuality. We are not building anything in 
the way of character. We add nothing to the 
capital of life. We are simply spending. We 
must then turn back to concentration as the 
fundamental principle of the growth of personality. 
There must be one absorbing, dominant interest 
to which all others are tributary. Our mani- 
fold adjustments, with a view to this subordina- 
tion and organization, are the commonplaces of 
everyday life. We engage in a variety of occu- 
pations that are not directly connected with each 
other, that we may advance to the achievement 
of some definite end, or the satisfaction of some 
special instinct that, looked at from the outside, 
is quite remote from any one of them. 


An illustration of this might be as follows. 
The indispensable condition of my success, as 
regards the main purpose of my life, is the posses- 
sion of a sound mind in a sound body. Without 
that I can neither be, nor enjoy, that which the 
ideal end of my striving has promised me. For 
the possession of this I must distribute my vitality 
in a variety of directions that have only an in- 
direct bearing on my main purpose. If I starve 
myself bodily, mentally, or emotionally, I am 
rendering the realization of the ideal self incom- 
plete to the extent of the starvation. 

If, on the other hand, I allow myself to fall 
into greediness in any one of these directions, 
because of their pleasantness, I shall quite as 
certainly fall short of the end that I am trying to 
work out. Every one of these subsidiary activities 
is good and wholesome. But each one of them, 
as if jealous of the others, is capable of playing 
the part of betrayal in the attempt to capture 
and control me. If I am, in any measure, equal 
to the situation, if I am wise in the selection of 
my activities and firm in their control, they will 
be not only my useful servants, but also my 
devoted friends. The pleasures they are capable 
of giving will be enhanced tenfold because of the 
object to which they are tributary. They are 
something more and quite other than themselves; 
they are ennobled by the noble end which they 

Now let us observe that this kind of subordina- 


tion exists on a great variety of scales. The 
end that we have called the nobler one may be 
only relatively noble. It is something that promises 
a larger, more satisfactory self as related to those 
other ends that are tributary to it. But, anon, 
the horizon widens, a more extended vista is 
open to us. New desires are formed and objects 
or ends, hitherto unseen, outline themselves and 
become the characteristics of a still larger ideal 
self. Hence a necessity of reorganization. That 
which has been the dominant interest becomes 
secondary, subsidiary, if it fits into the reorgan- 
ization. If it does not, it remains outside, left 
behind, an arrested development. 

This leaving behind of an old self is often a 
painful business. While we have a vivid appre- 
hension of something better and higher, and are 
strongly impelled by our moral instincts to achieve 
it, the old self holds us with the tenacious grip of 
habit. The new conception that has made us 
restless seems to demand a change of constitution, 
a new birth, and in the lives of most of us there 
are crises that correspond to these seemings. 
Now all revolutions are, in themselves, things to 
be deplored. However necessary, they are dis- 
organizing. They break up the order that has 
been, without at once establishing a new con- 
trolling order. If frequent, they are altogether 
demoralizing. To avoid them, if possible, is 
the counsel of wisdom. How to do this is one of 
our difficult problems. 


Not that the end to be attained is obscure. 
By a number of different paths, different sets of 
inferences and constraining necessities, we have, 
in the course of our discussion, been brought up 
to the recognition of one definite requirement; 
namely, the conception and the adoption of an 
end so high that no other one can ever get above 
it, — an object of reverence and worship so com- 
prehensive, so inexhaustible, that we can never 
weary, never be thrown out of the running through 
having come to the end of it. 

And further, we have seen that there exists 
for each one of us an objective end, embodying 
to the full all these qualities, — a living respond- 
ing reality, distinctly conceived and yet, as re- 
lated to our minds, one that is always growing 
and expanding. But, it is one thing to be per- 
suaded of the existence of such a reality, to 
intellectually approve it as the solution of life's 
great problem, and quite another thing to appro- 
priate it, to make it actually and vitally, in per- 
sonal experience, the grand motive of life. This 
is something to be achieved. How to make that 
which we intellectually and morally approve 
identical with that which we love and live for, is 
to progressively work out our own salvation. 



CAN we, by willing to do so, make that 
which we intellectually approve, identical 
with that which we love and live for? 
In other words, can we, by this means, come to 
know personally and experimentally the God 
Whom we know theoretically? 

In the chapter before the last we outlined the 
general principle by means of which it is possible 
to transform indeterminate concepts into efficient 
agencies, and we considered the process by which 
the will can establish in the mind dominating 
intellectual convictions for the regulation of life. 
It remains for us to follow out the same general 
line of thought, as related to the establishment in 
the soul of a central, all-controlling enthusiasm, 
a love to God that shall make all things tributary 
to it. It is perhaps needless to say that we do not 
claim for the will any immediately coercive power 
in this direction. Will and intelligence must 
move together. Intelligence, without will, is im- 
potent. Will, without intelligence, is blind. To- 
gether they can remove mountains. Intelligence 



must first study out the ways of doing things. It 
must sort out from experience those elements that 
are serviceable, that throw light upon the prob- 
lem in hand, that have perhaps already partially 
solved it. Then the will brings to bear its power 
of concentrating attention. 

Herein lies the secret of all achievement. The 
will has the control of the situation, if it has pre- 
served and strengthened its power of compelling 
attention. This is the condition of progress in 
any direction, not alone in the sphere of religion, 
but in all spheres. We live in the world sur- 
rounded by untold resources, the potency of 
which is for the most part hidden from us. Having 
eyes we see not, having ears we hear not, neither 
do we understand. We are half-conscious of the 
outsides of things, of their appeals to the senses; 
but, of their values we know only so much as the 
will forces from them by the application of its 
great solvent, attention. 

There is a religious side to all the activities that 
make for the enlargement and deepening of life, 
or that contribute in any way to human welfare, 
if we set ourselves to find it and to live in the light 
of it. A great hindrance to the development of a 
unifying, all-controlling love to God has been the 
extent to which we have been in the habit of 
satisfying our religious natures in a special and 
somewhat separate department of experience. 
This is not said in disparagement of that special 
department. Modern thought is not the whole 


of thought. The land which it is taking posses- 
sion of has been long occupied. Great and rich 
cities with rival interests have held sway within 
it. Modern thought comes, not pre-eminently to 
destroy, but to conserve, to rescue, to reconstruct, 
and to vitalize. Modern thought is the offspring 
of ancient thought, and has drawn its sustenance 
from it. The specialized form of worship that we 
have inherited has not come to the end of its 
usefulness because religion is called to undertake 
a wider jurisdiction and a more complete control 
of life. 

The language of religion that has come to us 
through the Church, its lofty and loving concep- 
tions of God, its reverence-inspiring ascriptions, 
its creeds, in so far as they are expressed in terms 
of devotion, constitute a life-giving atmosphere, 
a spiritual ozone for vitalizing, purifying, and 
inspiring our lives. We live in these symbols as 
we live in the social medium, without thinking of 
it. We have been moulded by them. Whether 
conscious of them or not, they are organic con- 
stituents of the world in which we move. To 
foster them, nourish them, and protect them, as 
the most valuable and vital products of human 
evolution, is the highest wisdom. To permit 
them to grow dim, to become dishonoured and 
made ineffective through neglect, is to trifle away 
our best inheritance. 

The formulated creeds that have come down 
to us are like monuments in stone, marking the 


crises through which the Church has passed in 
its struggle upward to the light. They are the 
records of well-fought battles, — ancient fortifi- 
cations, fashioned to withstand the inroads of a 
different environment from that which surrounds 
us to-day. The creeds, on the other hand, that 
have come to us in the devotional language of 
the Church, — in its prayers and psalmody and 
music, in its inspired outbursts of God-conscious- 
ness that makes us sharers of the divine experi- 
ences of those who have lived in the far-away 
past, — these are the living spirit that those old 
walls of faith were built to protect in ages of 
narrower outlooks. They served the exigencies 
of their day; they are historic relics now; while 
the religion that they shielded has come out into 
a larger place and, with new hope, looks toward 
a future of indefinite expansion. 

In our devotional expressions of faith there is 
little to alter. We may wish to prune here and 
there, to cut out withered branches; but, for the 
most part, the old language rings true. We 
worship and refresh our souls in the old phrases, 
and feel that no others could serve our spirits half 
so well. The God to Whom we pray is the God 
of the Prophets, of the benignant Psalms, the 
God of Jesus and of His Apostles, the God of the 
spirits and souls of the righteous in all ages. He 
is the God of the Book of Common Prayer; the 
Almighty and Everlasting God, the merciful 
Father; the Eternal God Who alone spreadest 


out the heavens and rulest the raging of the sea; 
He is the giver of all good gifts, Who openeth 
His hand and fillest all things living with plente- 
ousness; He is the high and mighty Ruler of the 
universe; He is the Creator and Preserver of all 
mankind; He is the Father of Our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and our Father. 

We cannot, as I have said, exaggerate the im- 
portance of this part of our religion. But, in addi- 
tion to the conservation of this, the will-power of 
to-day has another most important and serious 
task laid upon it. It must bring attention to 
bear, with all its constructive gifts of imagination 
and idealization, upon the discovery of God in all 
the activities and enthusiasms of life. Not in all, 
at once. The first clear sight of God, outside the 
formal worship of Him, comes through a great 
variety of experiences: to one through the love 
of some other human being, to another through 
the love of nature, to another through the binding 
up of the wounds caused by disappointment or 
bereavement. " Man's extremity is God's oppor- 

For many of us, the most direct way to God 
from the secular life is through the reverence 
we conceive for some of our fellow-mortals. 
Idealized men and women become the stepping- 
stones by which we climb to higher things. Some 
of us come in contact with such in the intimate 
relations of our lives. But, the principle is more 
conspicuously illustrated in the feeling of reverence 


and love and loyalty that attaches itself to those 
who have demonstrated their greatness in wider 
fields — the leaders and saviours of men. 

This is a feeling that is sometimes strong 
enough to suggest how one's whole life may become 
centred in another personality and be lifted by it 
into a higher atmosphere. In the words of Carlyle, 
"No nobler feeling than this of admiration for one 
higher than himself dwells in the breast of man. 
It is to this hour, and at all hours, the vivifying 
influence in man's life." * In so far as such a 
love is instinctive, it is the outgrowth of man's 
highest and most cultivated instincts. If deep- 
seated and abiding, it rests upon judgments, 
moral discernments, that have grown up gradually 
in connection with life's manifold experiences. 
The great man is the objective reflex of an ideal 
that has been moulded with the careful pains- 
taking of the sculptor who makes, unmakes, and 
remakes the outlines of the clay that is to em- 
body his vision. An essentially mean man can- 
not admire a great one. Only in so far as we are 
noble in ourselves can we fasten to the nobility 
of another and be lifted by it to still higher 

In such enthusiasms the idea may be quite 
independent of the physical embodiment of the 
person who is the object of it. Few of us have 
the good fortune to know at first hand our great 
contemporaries, if such there be. And, if we have 

* Carlyle's " Hero- Worship," p. 14. 


what we call a personal acquaintance with them, 
the feeling of reverence is not necessarily aug- 
mented thereby. That there is such a thing as 
physical charm, personal magnetism, is not ques- 
tioned. But, on the other hand, many of our 
devoted attachments are fixed upon those who 
are no longer of this earth. And yet we know 
them personally quite as truly and perhaps more 
purely and essentially than those others whose 
hands we have grasped, whose eyes we have looked 
into, whose smiles, or frowns, we have felt. 

We know and love the personality of those 
exponents of our race who, ages ago, gave us the 
Psalms and the grand utterances of the Prophets. 
They impressed not only themselves, but also 
the God, Whom they loved and worshipped, upon 
all subsequent ages. His individuality was as 
clear and distinct to them as that of the men 
who lived and spoke and ate with them, yet, 
transcending human experience, it lifted its wor- 
shippers out of themselves. 

They asked not to see His form, nor any ma- 
terial image of Him. Such a thought was sacrilege. 
But, for all that, they knew Him. His thoughts, 
His ways, His works, were everywhere in evidence. 
The heavens proclaimed them, sun and moon 
and stars, the seas and floods, the winds of God, 
Summer and Winter, dews and frosts, mountains, 
and hills, all green things upon the earth, fowls 
of the air, beasts and cattle, spirits and souls of 
the righteous, holy and humble men of heart, — 


all these were to them the living, never-silent 
expressions of His manifold personality. 

The grand thoughts that they were permitted 
to utter were only the echo of the grander psalmody 
of the universe, to which they had listened with 
attentive spirits. "How precious also are Thy 
thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the 
sum of them! If I should count them they are 
more in number than the sand ! When I awake I 
am still with Thee." 

If, in those far-away simple ages, before the 
revelations of science had so immensely extended 
the field of our knowledge, men could be over- 
whelmed with the multiplicity of God's revela- 
tion of Himself, what shall we say of an age 
pulsating with new discoveries, new expressions 
of His power, hitherto undreamed-of disclosures 
of the manifold elaborateness of His methods? 
Have we permitted all this added knowledge to 
build up a wall of partition between Him and us? 
Dazed with the magnitude of our discoveries, 
have we taken to worshipping these, in the place 
of the great soul of things that informs them 
all? Is there, in the nature of things, a neces- 
sity for such a change of attitude? Was the 
insight of the Hebrew seers conditioned upon the 
simplicity of their conceptions? And must we, 
in this more enlightened age, be despoiled of all 
the poetry and uplift of our souls because we 
know so much? 

There surely is a better way, a way with which 


we are familiar, and of which we make constant 
use in other relations of life. Do we lose our 
regard for the work of a great master in painting 
because we have visited a studio and been made 
acquainted with the mechanical part of his work? 
Do we cease to be moved by noble music when 
we have learned the structure of instruments, the 
laws of vibrations, or the fact that music itself can 
be stated in mathematical terms? 

To illustrate the application of this, let us 
imagine ourselves before the work of some truly 
great artist, that has stirred thought and feeling, 
and lifted us for a time into a higher atmosphere. 
Suddenly, by some inconsequence of thought, we 
revert to earth and begin to reflect upon the 
means by which the picture has been produced, — 
how it came to be what it is, what vehicles of 
expression were used, the nature of the canvas, the 
pigments and their chemical constitution. The 
picture, by this means, is resolved into a mass of 
heterogeneous, unmeaning crudities. Its glories 
have faded into the light of common day. How, 
we ask, can these things, or any combination of 
them, have produced the wonderful effects that 
still linger in our memories? Clearly we must 
look beyond them for an explanation of the 
phenomena. We must look from the materials to 
the manipulator. 

Human hands combined these pigments. 
Human hands stretched the canvas to receive 
them. A human hand travelled long and dili- 


gently over this surface, distributing the colours 
here and there, till this strange result was reached. 
What moved that hand? Muscles, nerves, and 
a vast complexity of organs, on the activity of 
which they were dependent. What was the secret 
of all this activity of the organism? In the first 
place vital force, a principle that no one knows 
anything about except that it seems allied to 
and transmutable into all other forms of force 
that manifest themselves in the world about us; 
and, in the second place, nutrition. Beef and 
potatoes, bread and sausages, coffee and tea, 
wine and water, all kinds of food and drink were 
supplied to this complex organism, were assim- 
ilated by it, and transformed into the activities 
that have produced the picture in which we are 

How very unsatisfactory! We must look else- 
where. The effect that the picture produced was 
clearly not a thing external to us, it was a personal 
experience. How did it come about? Continu- 
ing the same method, we come upon an organism 
that has a like nature with the one we have been 
studying; that is, our own receptive organism. 
Waves of light have transmitted influences stored 
up in the picture by organism number one, to 
organism number two, which we call ours. These, 
coming in contact with sensitive parts of that 
organism, have been transmitted by different 
nerves to certain cells of the brain, these have 
organized themselves in a peculiar way, and as a 


result the impressions of which we were conscious 

An explanation of this kind, to be exhaustive, 
would include, more or less directly, all the 
agencies that have been at work in the world, 
and when the whole story is told we are none 
the wiser. For, when we reach the end, the 
unanswerable question arises, What am I? And 
this the study of all the instrumentalities that 
have ever been cannot touch. We must begin 
all over again, taking our stand on the two original 
concrete realities of which we are sure: first, the 
effect produced in us by the picture, and second, 
the picture, in which we have to recognize another 
concrete reality standing out there as part of a 
world which, though it appears to be of a totally 
different order from mind, yet is capable of pro- 
ducing mental and emotional effects. It must be, 
therefore, that this second concrete reality, as 
related to our minds, is nothing more nor less 
than a transmitting agency, a means of com- 
munication, a language by which we are brought 
into vital relations to another mind. 

As matter of fact, we know, by a process of 
analogical reasoning, so familiar to us that we take 
no note of it, that this picture existed in the mind 
of its creator before it ever existed in the form 
of which we are cognizant. We know, moreover, 
that the same mind that originally conceived the 
picture has been at work, discriminating, select- 
ing, combining, through every stage of the process 


by which it has come to be what it is. With a 
wisdom and skill that the novice is utterly at a 
loss to follow, the artist has moved on, step by 
step, marshalling these crude, senseless, unmean- 
ing things into such relations to each other that 
they convey to another mind the most delicate 
shades of feeling. 

Now, let us ask, whence come these emotional 
effects? They are clearly something common to 
the experience both of the artist and of ourselves. 
They are realities that have grown up in him and 
in us by virtue of a common nature. They may 
have been more or less latent in him until he gave 
expression to them; they may have been latent 
in us until his expression brought them into con- 
sciousness. But, even so, what are they and what 
do they mean? What is the explanation of their 
presence? The picture represents something in 
the world of external reality, — it may be a bit 
of natural scenery, it may be a human face. But 
here again we come up against the same wall of 
material things. The bit of nature, the human 
face are made of the same stuff as the picture; 
that is, of things as material and meaningless in 

We say these things affect us because we have 
associations with them. But, if it is through 
association with inanimate things that we have 
come by these ennobling sentiments we must 
again fall back upon the inference that the 
combinations of material things, that we call 


phases of nature, are also transmitting agencies. 
There is a mind working behind them and in 
them. They are but the outward expression of 
the love and the grandeur, of the gentleness and 
harmony, of the depth and purity, of some Being 
immeasurably greater than ourselves, in whose 
thought and love we are able to participate be- 
cause we are his offspring, because we share his 
nature, and because we are ever more made con- 
scious of new and springing capabilities in this 

So also, it is our privilege to know and to feel 
God in every good word and action of our fellow- 
men. He, when we get to the bottom of the 
matter, has inspired it all. We honour man no 
less, for he also has been the author of the good 
thought and the good act. But God it is Who 
has been working in him from first to last. To 
know what God is like, we have only to look in 
the faces of the best men and women who are 
living about us. If their faces have been moulded 
to nobleness and benignity it is the greatest of 
all artists who has been the sculptor. If noble 
thoughts have dwelt within this man, not he 
alone has been the thinker. God has thought 
with him, supplementing, perfecting, harmonizing, 
sublimating. So also, when we look into our- 
selves, every noble impulse, every incentive to 
better things, every inspiring glimpse of a more 
satisfactory self to be attained, is a movement of 
God in us. 


The idealizing faculty, by which we are per- 
mitted to construct a conception of that better- 
self, is also His faculty, His medium of direct 
communication with us. It is the language in 
which He speaks to us, encouraging, sustaining, 
luring us on with hopes and promises. We some- 
times speak of "the smiles of an approving con- 
science." Why not say "the smiles of God"? 
"Lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon 
us" should be our daily prayer, and the fulfilment 
of it our abounding and all-sufficient happiness. 

When our eyes have been once opened to this 
greatest of all realities, it is like the rising of the 
sun over a benighted land. One point after 
another of our world is touched by its gilding 
rays, then all the uplands are illuminated, then 
its life-giving beams penetrate to the valleys and 
light up its darkest glens. Every lovable thing 
in this world is educating us for this experience, 
and every lovable thing is transitory for the very 
reason that it exists for the purpose of lifting us 
into something inexpressibly higher, more satis- 
factory, more enduring, than itself. 


The Evidential Value of Analogy 

ALL our constructive knowledge is condi- 
tioned upon one great fact of the universe 
that underlies it. Experience has demon- 
strated that the universe is, to a very great 
extent, a series of modified repetitions, so that an inti- 
mate knowledge of any one part of it is, within certain 
limits, a true guide to the interpretation of other parts 
of it and, progressively, to every part. On this fact 
all our analogical thinking hinges; and, so far as elab- 
orated knowledge is concerned, all our progress is 
dependent upon the use of analogy. 

The intellectual process through which our knowl- 
edge is continually extending its bounds has three 
well denned stages which are interdependent. These 
three stages we may call investigation, speculation, 

The first and the last of these are the prosaic parts 
of knowledge-getting. They have to do with the 
actualities of the world, and involve plodding, labor- 
ious application to details. The middle term or 
stage is, on the contrary, an activity of the imagina- 
tive faculty, in the exercise of which, construction is 
absolutely unfettered. Like a sorcerer, it makes and 
unmakes, builds and destroys without stint. In it 
the poetry of the world takes its rise, and inheres. 



Without it there would be no enthusiasm in living, no 
idealizing, no uplift from the heavy, dull round of 
necessary occupation. It is the very soul of art. It 
is the solace of our quiet hours; it is also the insti- 
gator of all our bravest and noblest endeavours. It 
holds us to our purposes, makes us strong in adver- 
sity, loyal in the presence of seductions. It is the 
faculty by which we transcend ourselves and rise in 
the scale of being. 

But all its nobler uses are conditioned upon dis- 
cipline; that is, upon its working in harness with the 
other above-mentioned factors. These two, labouring 
on either side, tend to keep it in order while it, in turn, 
sends a current of life and inspiration through them, 
making the movement toward knowledge, notwith- 
standing its drudgery and set-backs, an experience, 
on the whole, of joy and ever-increasing delight. 

I am not saying that we always consciously apply 
these three forms of activity in our conduct of life- 
Instinct goes before understanding. Even after we 
have accustomed ourselves to reflection, we employ 
the three-fold process as if it were no process at all, 
and call it sympathy, intuition, divination. And 
when, perchance, we do turn our attention to the 
nature of our methods and processes, we find these 
activities already functioning in perfect order. Every 
time we encounter an object that is somewhat strange, 
and make an effort to assimilate the new experience 
to the established society of our accepted beliefs, we 
go through all the three stages. The perception of 
it arouses curiosity and the question, what is it? 
Instinctively we call before us resemblances that may 
suggest a partial answer. This leads to a guess or 
hypothesis as to its nature; and then, if we are per- 


mitted, we proceed to test the correctness of it by 
the sense of touch, or smell, or taste. The continued 
use of this process underlies all our organized knowl- 
edge. Even that which seems the most directly 
given is, in reality, the product of its employment. 

To use Mr. G. H. Lewes' expression, every new idea 
must be soluble in old experiences, be recognized as 
like them; otherwise it will be unperceived, uncompre- 
hended. A conception which is novel, or largely 
novel, is unintelligible even to the acutest intellect, 
It must be prepared for, pre-conceived ; and, by the 
exhibition of its points of similarity and attachment 
with familiar conceptions, its congruity with these, 
may become the ground of its acceptance."* 

Except for our own self-consciousness we could 
know nothing whatever of self-consciousness or intel- 
ligence in others; and, beyond the instinctive stage, 
our progressive knowledge of them is attained, first, 
by a series of analogical assumptions, or hypotheses, 
which may properly be described as prejudices; and, 
second, by the verification or correction of these 
by further experience. Certain general conclusions 
with regard to mankind result from this. First, that 
all members of the human race are like ourselves 
and like each other; second, that no two members 
of the race are like each other; and third, that the 
least developed can have only a very limited and im- 
perfect knowledge of the most developed. In other 
words, experience endorses our use of self-knowledge 
as the ground of interpretation for conscious beings 
widely separated from us, but, at the same time, 
lays upon us the necessity of allowing for wide, blank 

* "Mind as a function of the Organism." Sec. 77. 


spaces in our conception. The more closely connected 
two persons are by birth, training, and temperament, 
the fewer the blank spaces, the more complete and 
trustworthy the conception formed. Yet those who 
are most widely separated find, in virtue of their 
common humanity, grounds for a fairly probable 
judgment of character. 

But this is only the beginning of the analogical use 
to which we put our inner knowledge of self. All our 
interpretation of the motives of the lower animals 
proceeds upon the same principle as our interpreta- 
tion of men. In our critical moments we may be 
inclined to deny that a shepherd-dog has any commun- 
ity of nature with man. But in the synthetical, prac- 
tical judgments of his shepherd-master he figures as 
a slightly modified human being. I think I may affirm 
that our success in dealing with the more intelligent 
animals depends upon the faithfulness and discrimi- 
nation with which we apply this self-derived analogy. 
"Put yourself in his place" is, within certain limits, as 
good a maxim for the regulation of our conduct 
toward a horse as toward a man. 

From the more intelligent animals we descend by 
regular gradations till we reach those that are lowest in 
the scale of organization. The structure of the appar- 
ently brainless ant, with its plurality of co-ordinate 
nerve centres, seems at far too great a remove from 
the human organism to afford the slightest ground 
for a trustworthy analogy. But when we study its 
adaptations and modifications of means to ends, we 
are, in spite of our knowledge of structure, convinced 
that ants not only have something closely resembling 
intelligence, but that they have an amazing amount 
of it. And when we drop still lower to contemplate 


the behaviour of the apparently structureless amceba 
in search of its food, we are constrained to apply the 
same analogy for the explanation of what we behold. 
The inferences we draw are crude, and perhaps in 
many respects wide of the truth, but it guides us to- 
ward the truth, and is the germ of our conception of 

Now, with regard to the threefold process, here 
are certain facts; this process is embedded in our 
nature, we find it in operation before we reach the 
stage of analyzing our mental processes, we have dis- 
covered no substitute for it in the conduct of daily 
life. These considerations are to my mind the strong- 
est possible justification for the belief that this three- 
fold method is the one by which all our constructive 
knowledge is to be acquired. This is my hypothesis; 
and for its endorsement I must make inquiry of the 
various departments of human knowledge that have 
most grown and prospered, to find out how it has 
been with them. Have they found another method 
more reliable or shorter or, in general, more satisfac- 
tory? The physical sciences, for instance, have they 
invented a better way? On the contrary, all their 
triumphs in the past have sprung from the use of 
the three-stage method and all their hope for the 
future is vested in it. 


Up to a certain point the labour of science consists 
in observation, in prying research for the collection 
of a great number of facts; then comes the work of 
comparison and classification; then the work of con- 
jecture, in which the imagination has free play; then 


the process of exclusion, in the course of which many 
of the suggestions of fancy are set aside as unworthy 
of attention; then the process of verification for the 
proof, or disproof, of the surviving conjecture. We 
are at present interested in that stage that relates to 
the formation of hypotheses. 

The scientific imagination is, from the first, held in 
partial control by past experiences, which, at the same 
time, restrain and furnish it with building material in 
the shape of resemblances. Guided by these, it con- 
structs an hypothetical explanation of a given group 
of phenomena; that is, it finds an analogy. Having, 
with the aid of this, ascertained a principle of limited 
range, it expands this again by the use of the imagi- 
nation, till the same principle is serviceable for a very 
much wider class of phenomena. Every time it 
repeats this process it acts on the assumption that 
the world is a series of modified repetitions: and 
every time an hypothesis so made is verified, the 
correctness of this assumption receives an additional 

The results of science thus present us with what 
has been appropriately called a "hierarchy of prin- 
ciples." Each partial generalization foreshadows a 
higher one in which it is, soon or late, seen to be 
comprehended. And what is true of principles is 
equally true of groups of phenomena. The whole 
science of classification depends upon the fact of rep- 
etition, with modification, on different scales. 

Comparatively recent discoveries have disclosed 
the existence of such orderly arrangements on differ- 
ent planes where we should least have suspected it. 
Chemistry, as we know, is arrested in its all-dissolving 
course by certain elements that seem to defy analy- 


sis, — elements that have therefore to be provision- 
ally treated as final, absolutely dissimilar substances. 
Here, if anywhere, we should anticipate that the 
above-mentioned rule would fail us. But, almost 
simultaneously by a Russian and a German chemist, 
the very remarkable discovery was made that these 
elements are capable of being classified in successive 

The following very brief and clear statement of 
this was given some years ago by Professor Huxley: 
— "If the sixty-five or sixty-eight recognized elements 
are arranged in the order of their atomic weights, 
the series does not exhibit one continuous, progres- 
sive modification in the physical and chemical charac- 
ters of its several terms, but breaks up into a number 
of sections, in each of which the several terms present 
analogies with the corresponding terms of the other 
series. Thus the whole series does not run — 

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, etc. 

a, b, c, d, — A, B, C, D, — a, ft y, 8, etc. 

So that, it is said to express a law of recurrent sim- 
ilarities. Or the relation may be expressed in another 
way. In each section of the series the atomic weight 
is greater than in the preceding section; so that if 
w is the atomic weight of any element in the first 
segment, w + x will represent the atomic weight of 
any element in the next, and w -f x + y the atomic 
weight of any element in the next, and so on. There- 
fore the sections may be represented as parallel series, 
the corresponding terms of which have analogous 
properties; each successive series starting with a 
body the atomic weight of which is greater than 


that of any in 

TOCnlATi • ■ 

the preceding series. 

, in the following 

lclblilOIl . 




w + x 





w + x + y 

This is a conception with which biologists are very 
familiar; animal and plant groups constantly appear- 
ing as series of parallel modifications of similar and 
yet different primary forms." * 

The discovery of this order led the Russian chemist, 
Mendelejeff, to indicate the existence of other ele- 
ments not hitherto recognized. When he first ranged 
the known elements in a tabular form he found that 
a symmetrical arrangement left, here and there, vacant 
spaces. He called attention to these gaps, and ven- 
tured not only to prophesy that elements, then un- 
known, would be found to fill them, but even went so 
far as to describe in detail what these undiscovered 
elements would probably be like. Only a short time 
elapsed before the elements thus described were dis- 

Other illustrations of this principle, having a closer 
relation to our problem, will easily occur to the reader. 
If we wish to find an analogy for the assumption 
that the exceedingly limited may reveal the nature 
of that which is inexpressibly extended, we have only 
to call to mind the great law of Newton, — that every 
particle of matter in the universe is related to every 
other particle as each of the planets is related to the 

* "The Advance of Science in the Last Half Century," p. 56. 


other heavenly bodies. Following out this law, in con- 
nection with the atomic theory, we attain to that 
astounding conception for which science has no rebuke, 
that a molecule may be a solar system in miniature. 
Alluding to such a conception, Professor J. P. Cooke 
says: "A theory which assumes that within the masses 
of material bodies the motions of suns and systems 
are reproduced on a scale so minute as to task our 
power of imagination to grasp the conception, is found 
to be in complete accordance with all the facts which 
can be observed." * 

But there is another aspect of our hypothesis that 
needs illustration. The simplicity of the relations 
above instanced may seem to separate them by a 
wide difference from the relations postulated for the 
interpretation of the inner reality of living things. 
But even here we are not without a precedent in 
the methods of science. The marvel of marvels for 
condensed potentiality is the egg. For in it, by the 
aid of the microscope, we may trace the whole pro- 
cess of the creation of a higher animal. First we 
have the germ, a nucleated cell. This becomes two 
by a division of itself and by growth. By the repeti- 
tion of this process it becomes a multitude. The egg 
then presents to us an aggregate of homogeneous 
cells, capable of being still further multiplied and, at 
the same time, modified into a great variety of 
classes having different forms and functions. By 
these, as by a trained army of artisans, each knowing 
just when to go and what to do, the living organism, 
that in its unity we call a being, is built up. 

Now, in this wonderful process, modern science 

* "The Credentials of Science the Warrant of Faith," p. 265. 


believes that it has discovered the true key to the 
history of the whole animated world. At the begin- 
ning of his book on evolution, Dr. Joseph Le Conte 
says: "Every one is familiar with the main facts con- 
nected with the development of an egg. . . . Now 
this process is evolution. It is more, — it is the type 
of all evolution. It is that from which we get our 
idea of evolution, and without which there would 
be no such word." As to the importance of the 
principle thus made known to us, the same writer 
says: — "The process pervades the whole universe, 
and the doctrine concerns every department of 
science, — yea, every department of human thought. 
It is literally one-half of all science." 


Now let us see to what extent this important prin- 
ciple, suggested by the egg, rests upon analogy. It 
has been reached by the comparison of three separate 
series of forms found in nature. First we have the 
taxonomic series. This is the result of classifying the 
contemporary forms of animal life on a scale of rela- 
tive complexity. Beginning with a unicellular organ- 
ism, we advance, step by step, till we reach the higher 
animals, made up of innumerable cells having a great 
variety of forms, functions, and relations. The mem- 
bers of this series are not a succession of stages pro- 
ceeding one from another, but a series of completed, 
independent existences living alongside of each other. 

The second series is the phylogenetic, or geological, 
series. This seems to be the history in time, of the 
former. It shows that the simplest organisms came 
into being first, then those somewhat less simple, and 


then, successively, those which were more and more 
complex. The members of this series do not appear 
to be genetically related to each other, any more than 
those of the first series, but the arrangement of their 
succession in time gives us the idea of a progres- 
sive creation. But now we come to the third, the 
ontogenetic, or egg, series. 

For the purpose of comparison, the process that 
takes place in the egg is marked off into a succes- 
sion of stages; and the relations which these stages 
sustain to each other seem to reveal in a wonderful 
manner the secret of the other two series. Like the 
taxonomic series, it begins with a single cell, and then, 
by the gradual multiplication and differentiation of 
cells, it reaches that unified complex of organs — a 
higher animal. In this series all the members are gen- 
etically related, that is, they are stages of being that 
proceed directly the one from the other. 

This seems to explain the geological, or historical, 
series, because its members are similarly related to 
each other, both in the order of time and in the order 
of complexity. And it seems to explain the classi- 
fication series, and to unite this with the historical, 
by showing how a series that has been progressive in 
time may, in its results, present the aspect of an aggre- 
gate of unprogressive, fixed forms. For the egg 
series, although progressive, gives rise all along its 
course, to forms that remain as immovably fixed as 
the different species of animals that we see around 
us. Different classes of cells, as we have seen, are 
evolved; and although some of these give rise to new 
classes, some of them remain to represent the partic- 
ular phase of the organism that they introduced. 
The same is true of organized groups of cells. There 


is a continual branching and re-branching. But, in 
the completed organism, the various stages of differ- 
entiation continue to be more or less represented by 
classifiable cells and groups of cells. 

More remarkable still do these coincidences appear 
when it is further observed that the earlier stages of 
the egg series of a higher animal bear a striking resem- 
blance to the more mature stages of lower animals. 
This is perhaps most clearly illustrated by a compari- 
son of the successive embryonic stages of the human 
brain with the mature brain of animals lower in the 
scale. The first observable form is less elaborate than 
that of the ordinary fish. In the next stage it resembles 
that of a fish; then, by the relative increase of the 
cerebrum, it reaches the reptilian stage; by continued 
growth it partly covers the optic lobes and resembles 
the brain of a bird; then it wholly covers the optic 
lobes and, partially overspreading the cerebellum and 
the olfactory lobes, may be called a mammalian brain; 
and finally it covers and overhangs all and becomes 
a human brain. In view of these facts, Dr. Le Conte 
sums up the argument for evolution as follows : — 

"Now, why should this peculiar order be observed 
in the building of the individual brain? We find the 
answer — the only conceivable answer — to this question 
in the fact that this is the order of the vertebrate 
brain by evolution throughout geological history. 
We have already seen that fishes were the only verte- 
brates living in Devonian times. The first form of 
brain, therefore, was that characteristic of that class. 
The reptiles were introduced; then birds and mar- 
supials; then true mammals; and, lastly, man. The 
different styles of brain characteristic of these classes 
were, therefore, successively made by evolution from 


earlier and simpler forms. In phylogeny, this order 
was observed because these successive forms were 
necessary for perfect adaptation to the environment 
at each step. In taxonemy we find the same order, 
because, as already explained, every stage in advance 
in phylogeny is still represented in existing forms. 
In ontogeny we have still the same order, because 
ancestral characteristics are inherited and family 
history recapitulated in the individual history." * 

When presented in this form, the reasoning that 
connects the egg series with the other two does not, 
at first sight, seem to rest altogether upon analogy. 
But a close inspection of the argument will, I think, 
convince us that it has very little else to support it. 
The order of the thought seems to be this: first we 
compare the three series and find a close resemblance 
in the succession of their stages; second, knowing 
that the stages in the egg series are genetically related 
to each other, we infer that those of the geological 
series are similarly related; third, by a reflex argument, 
we infer that the reason why the members of the 
egg series are genetically related is found in the fact 
that those of the geological series were, previously, 
so related. 

Now, aside from analogy, what support do we get 
for the first inference? If investigation showed that 
similar conditions affected the two series, we could 
at once establish our inference on the principle that 
like causes produce like effects. But this is not the 
case. The conditions in the one situation have no 
resemblance to the conditions in the other; at least 
they have no resemblance to the conditions that are 

* "Evolution and its Relations to Religious Thought," 
p. 150. 


adduced as the chief cause of the original order. Con- 
flict with, and adaptation to, environment are said to 
have had a large share in the origination of the race 
series. But the environment of the individual em- 
bryo is, in every respect, unlike that of the unpro- 
tected militant organism. In reasoning from the egg 
series to the geological, therefore, we have nothing to 
go upon but analogy; that is, a similarity of order 
existing under external circumstances that are quite 

Let us examine the second step. Having analog- 
ically made the hypothesis that the members of the 
geological series are genetically related, how are we 
justified in assigning this as the cause of the phenom- 
ena of the egg series? It is said that the principle 
of heredity supplies us with the means of making such 
a deduction. But we must further ask, to what ex- 
tent does the principle of heredity, as thus applied, 
rest upon inference from analogy? The answer must 
be, almost entirely. We know nothing about the 
principle of heredity, as related to the remote past, 
except inferentially and analogically. So far as direct 
knowledge of the law of heredity is concerned, it 
remains such a mystery from beginning to end, as 
to make the exclusion of almost any hypothesis 

But the same ignorance of its laws makes it impos- 
sible to deduce results with any confidence from it. 
The analogies under discussion have contributed 
many suggestions about the law of heredity ; but from 
the law of heredity, independently of these analogies, 
we get very little assistance. 

The elder Agassiz, who did so much to prepare 
the way for the evolution hypothesis, brought to- 


gether and classified the materials in all three of the 
above-mentioned series, and, moreover, made it the 
great work of his life to demonstrate the close rela- 
tionship in which they stood to each other. He even 
went so far as to affirm that the observed repetitions 
were such as to render the embryonic series a true key 
to classification in the other two. But he did not 
advance to the position that species are derived from 
each other by natural descent, because there was 
nothing in the known principles of heredity to compel 
such an inference. The connection between the three 
series was, for him, one that had its origin in the 
mind of the Creator. There was a uniformity of plan 
and method, but not an interdependence between the 
series, or a derivation of one from the other. 

In short, it seems to me unquestionable that, in 
so far as the modern theory of evolution gains support 
from embryology, it is indebted entirely to analogi- 
cal relations existing on widely different scales, and 
under circumstances that seem to be wholly unlike 
each other. I am not, be it understood, attempting 
to disparage the argument thus derived. I wish only 
to show how much influence analogy has in deter- 
mining our beliefs; and to what an extent the most 
complex relations may be employed as a key to the 
understanding of other complex relations from which 
they are widely separated. Nor, on the other hand, 
am I trying to make it appear that the analogical 
argument is the only one to which the hypothesis of 
evolution refers for support. 

When once the hint of a genealogical relationship 
between species had been furnished by the egg series, 
scientific research busied itself to find corroborations 
of this hint in other and widely different relations 


of things; and although this research failed to discover 
much that it expected to find, and found in many cases 
that which seemed, at first sight, the contradiction 
of the hypothesis it was trying to verify, yet, so many 
and weighty were the converging evidences in its favour 
that evolution was tentatively established. 


Let us now turn to the consideration of that most 
significant of all analogies, very old, very time-worn, 
the conception that is easily taken hold of by chil- 
dren, and to which the greatest intellects of the world 
have bowed in reverence; but which, from an intel- 
lectual point of view, has always been beset with dif- 
ficulties. A pragmatic theology undertakes the 
removal, to some extent, of these difficulties. It sets 
itself the task of showing that the hypothesis of an 
indwelling intelligence, working and creating in the 
great world somewhat as man, the energizer and cre- 
ator, works in his little world, is a conception that 
stands endorsed by the scientific method. 

In pursuance of this end I will ask the atten- 
tion of the reader to a very remarkable and instruc- 
tive parallel existing between the evidential process 
that has led to the establishment of the doctrine of 
evolution, and that which has been the progressive 
endorsement of the doctrine of an indwelling God. 

In both cases we have a trio of related series. And 
furthermore in both cases, one of the series, that 
which mediates between the other two, is composed of 
forms made known to us by modern scientific research. 
In the series that leads to evolution, the two presented 
to ordinary observation are, first, the geological, and 


second, the series of contemporary species. In the 
series that leads to theism, the two that correspond 
to these are, first, the one made known to us in the 
history of man's creative activities, which we may 
call the human series, and second, the one exhibited 
on a broader scale in the history of the greater 
creation, which we may call the divine series. Both 
these two series have had to wait the advent 
of the third for a satisfactory interpretation. By 
themselves they suggested analogical resemblances 
and gave rise to hypotheses; but only when the third, 
mediating series was made known to us could these be 
scientifically endorsed. We have seen how the infer- 
ence of genetic relationship derived from the geolog- 
ical series was vetoed by the stability and genetic 
separateness of the series of contemporary forms. 

Just so, in the attempt to apply the analogy between 
what we have called the human and divine series, 
contrarieties of thought arose. Two distinct aspects 
of the human series as related to its centre emerged 
and divided the attention. On the one hand was the 
relation sustained by the individual to its completed 
products, which had become altogether separated from 
their author; on the other hand the relations sustained 
by the individual to its not-yet-finished products. 
The former tallied with the idea of a transcendent 
God, quite separated from his creatures, the latter 
to the conception of an indwelling continuously creat- 
ing God, with whose existence that of the creature 
was vitally bound up. To this latter class belong all 
the constructions of man that are still in the for- 
mative process : — the unpainted or half-painted pic- 
ture, the statue in the clay, the unrealized invention, 
the partially written book. The application of this 


analogy presents every human being as a thought of 
God in the making, a creature of God only half 

But this most fruitful and, in some respects, help- 
ful conception encountered serious contradictions in 
experience; for it took no account of man's freedom 
and responsibility. It seemed to obliterate the very 
fact in which the analogy took its rise, namely, the 
reality of man as an originating, creative centre. 
Taken by itself, its logical outcome was pantheism 
and determinism. Thus our analogy, that seemed so 
attractive and helpful in the beginning, proved most 
disappointing. If we followed it out on the line of 
completed products to a transcendent God, we had 
to think of ourselves as finished and dismissed, cut 
off from all vital connection with the Author of 
our being. But, if we took the other horn of the 
dilemma, we found ourselves at odds with the most 
vital reality of our existence. 

But now we come to the third series, which is the 
key to the other two. We may call it the organic, 
because it presents the human organism to us in the 
two-fold aspect of a unity and a multiplicity. The 
unity is the familiar, significant fact of experience — 
the Ego. The multiplicity is the human body as 
known to science. The following statement of it is 
by Dr. Evald Hering: — " Millions of the minutest, 
separately existing beings, different in shape and ex- 
ternal structure, compose a systematically arranged 
aggregate, thus forming the diverse organs; and these 
beings, in spite of their complicated interdependence, 
lead quite separate lives, for each single being is an 
animated centre of activity. The human body does 
not receive the impulse of life, like a machine, from 


one point, but each single atom of the different organs 
bears its vitalizing power in itself." * 

Each of these living-beings, known to science as 
a cell, consists of a protoplasmic body and a nucleus 
that, somehow, exerts an influence over it; and there 
is that in the behaviour of the nerve-cell that strongly 
suggests the most distinctive characteristic of mind, 
that is, self-control. A normal cell when stimulated 
does not re-act to exhaustion, but responds by meas- 
ure. Just as a person chooses to be more or less indif- 
ferent to one set of influences while responding freely 
to another, so also it seems to be with nerve-cells. 
This power of inhibition, as it is called, differs in cells 
and groups of cells as much as persons differ in tem- 
perament, and there is every indication that it is a 
phenomenon of exactly the same nature as that which 
convinces us that we are, to a certain extent, respon- 
sible beings. 

And again, according to their special functions, the 
individual cells are organized in such manner that each 
group presents something the same aspect of unity 
in diversity that characterizes the larger organism. 
The individuals that have to do with the sense of 
hearing are organized in a system by themselves. 
Those that serve the sense of sight form another sys- 
tem; and those that serve the sense of touch, still 
another. So also those bodily functions that are 
less closely related to our consciousness: the beating 
of the heart, the movements of the lungs, and other 
complicated activities of the organism which we call 
automatic. And, somehow, there is a unity of action 
in each system, — a co-ordination, by means of which 

* An Address on the "Specific Energies of the Nervous 
System," Dec, 1887. 


the activities of a diversified multitude are combined 
for the achievement of definite ends. 

The substantiation of these facts stands out before 
us as the concrete, living endorsement of the two anti- 
thetical conceptions of God, which we have hitherto 
held against the protest of logical consistency. With 
the discovery of an adequate symbol for the major 
premise, the protest vanishes. Logic is with us. The 
indefeasible fact of an independent unity and mul- 
tiplicity, existing in one being, takes these two aspects 
of God, that have been associated without union, 
and compacts them into one substance of unquestion- 
able truth. We have in this fact a demonstration 
that may be likened to a chemical reaction when the 
particles of elements quite foreign to each other lock 
together in the formation of a new substance. We 
cannot at once realize how important a factor 
in the theology of the future this third series must 
be. It cannot but classify our fundamental concep- 
tions of God, and rectify our thoughts of Him in many 
of life's relations. Let us glance at some of its more 
immediate effects. 

Why, let us ask, is it that one side of our thought 
of God appeals to us as the practical, and the other 
as the mystical, somewhat unreal side? The belief 
that God works in and through man is a vital and fun- 
damental part of our theology. Our knowledge of 
God that comes to us through the prophets, all that 
comes through the Incarnation, all that comes 
through conscience, grounds its claims upon the 
truth of this view. The doctrine of the Spirit that 
works with our spirit, that inspires, guides, and 
regenerates men, owns the same origin; and it is a 
part of our religion upon which we wish to take 


a very strong hold, which ought to be exceedingly 
real to us. But does it not stand in the thought 
of most of us as a cloudy, unsubstantial, theoretical 
kind of belief? Is it not a view of things that 
impresses us deeply in hours of meditation, but 
which slips away when we come back to the things 
of earth? Are we not dogged by a sense of incon- 
sistency and paradox in view of all our anxious 
forecastings of the future, our carefully laid plans, 
and our cautious exploration of our way through 
the world? And do not these strivings sometimes 
present themselves to us as a practical surrender of 
our religious beliefs? 

If I mistake not, the doctrine of the Spirit is vague 
because it has always appealed to us as an abstract, 
unrestricted principle. The divine efficiency in its 
relation to human efficiency has nowhere been pre- 
sented to us in the terms of a real symbol. It could 
not be so presented; because, until science had inter- 
vened, we knew nothing about the individuality and 
semi-independence of the subordinate units of an or- 
ganism; and, unless we emphasize this, the full value 
of the analogy is not apparent. But, with this em- 
phasis, the interaction and mutual limitation of divine 
and human efficiency find such a clear and concrete 
expression as to make it impossible for the one to 
overshadow the other in our thought. Magnify as 
we will the doctrine of the immanency of God, there 
is no tendency to the obscuration of man's personal- 
ity. For our symbol so regulates and restricts the 
two truths as to make them not antithetical but 

That form of enthusiasm which enjoins passivity 
on the part of man, in order that the Spirit may have 


free course within him, finds no encouragement. It 
is the activity of the subordinate beings that furnishes 
the opportunity for the Supreme Being to work. 
It is when they are the most earnestly engaged, each 
one according to his special endowment, in working 
out their own salvation, that the higher power ener- 
gizes most effectively within them. Neither, on the 
other hand, is it possible for us to lose sight of or under- 
estimate the agency of the Spirit in our lives. For 
this, through the medium of our symbol, is repre- 
sented by the over-ruling, determining, constantly 
modifying action of the Ego. 

Let us pass in review some of the relations existing 
between the human Ego and its subordinate beings. 

We may take it for granted that the primary inter- 
est of a nerve-cell centres in itself; that self-preserva- 
tion and the discharge of natural activities command 
the lion's share of its attention. Its consciousness 
of other beings extends only to those of its own 
kind, or of nearly related kinds. Its interests are cell 
interests. At the same time, knowing what we do 
of the efficiency of the central Ego, we can hardly 
doubt that its determinations are represented in some 
way in the consciousness of cells affected by them. 
When the attention of the Ego concentrates itself 
upon a particular interest, the vitality and strength 
of the organism is directed to a special part of the 
brain or nervous system; and in that part there is 
superabundant life, activity, and growth. Somehow, 
we know not how, when this concentrated attention 
is accompanied by constructive effort on the part of 


the Ego, its activity results in a more or less elabor- 
ate organization of nerve-cells corresponding to the 
form of thought in the Ego. 

In what guise this organizing activity appears to 
the agents of it we shall never know. But we may 
reasonably conjecture that, had they the power of reflec- 
tion, it would seem to them much as it now seems to 
us, when our plans and strivings appear to be tribu- 
tary to larger ends than those which we have set before 
us; that they would have a vague consciousness of 
a sphere more important than that of the individual; 
and that in moments of creative activity they might 
conceive themselves to be inspired. 

We might further illustrate this thought by refer- 
ring to the well-known power of the Ego over the organ- 
ism for the preservation of health and the overcoming 
of disease. When all goes well we say the organs of 
the body are doing their work normally and thoroughly; 
and we little think, perhaps, how much of this desir- 
able state of things is to be credited to the confident 
cheerful attitude of the central consciousness. When 
disease comes, each organ and cell has its own way of 
contending against it; and if, when hard pressed in 
the conflict, there comes a great inflow of strength, 
it is perhaps that the Ego has heard good news, has 
found a new interest in life, or has thrown the whole 
force of a hitherto unused will-power into the battle. 

In all these cases we have illustrated to us the 
greatest mystery of being, — the mystery of life within 
life, of mind co-operating with mind organically. 
We do not understand any better than before how 
such interaction is accomplished, nor how it is pos- 
sible that a nerve-cell, while leading a life of its own, 
should at the same time be the unconscious agent of 


a higher Being of whom it is a part. But it brings 
the fact, the reality, of a similar relationship on a differ- 
ent scale within the range of our ordinary experience. 
In one sense it remains a mystery; but in the same 
sense all the processes of nature are mysterious. It 
no longer has that most trying kind of mystery that 
inclines to doubt, — the kind that must always cling 
to a fact that stands alone, that can, in the wide uni- 
verse find no other fact to which it can be likened. 

There is another class of relations, not so direct 
but very intimate, that is capable of being turned to 
account in theology. The Ego is a Providence, both 
general and special, to its little world of subjects. 
It might seem, indeed, almost as true to say that they 
are a providence to it, for it owes its existence and de- 
velopment to their increase and organization; and its 
present state of existence would cease except for their 
constant activity in the performance of functions 
that only they know how to perform. But from the 
time that the Ego begins to be conscious of itself as 
an individual with wants to be satisfied and interests 
to protect, there begins also an activity of the one 
for the welfare of the many. 

The first cry of the infant for attention is a demand 
of the one, in response to the inwardly manifested 
clamours of the multitude that have suddenly become 
dependent upon it. And from this time on, the des- 
tiny of the diverse beings that make up the cosmos of 
the human organism becomes more and more depend- 
ent upon the intelligence, the energy, and the moral- 
ity of the Ego. When the Ego suffers hunger or 
thirst, what is it but that its myriad subjects are 
urging it with inarticulate prayers to consider and 
minister to their wants? Unless the Ego bestirs itself 


they must starve. They, indeed, are able and willing 
to work for their living; but only when they are 
directed and led by the Ego can they work to any 
purpose. It, the Ego, must be the Divinity that 
shapes their ends, that combines and directs their 
skill and their energies in such a way that they 
shall accomplish the thing that is required. And when 
the constantly recurring wants of the multitude are 
regularly met by a bountiful supply of meat and 
drink, it must seem to them somewhat as the early 
and the latter rain and the timely sunshine seem 
to us. 

Again, in view of hostile influences, the lives and 
the welfare of this great throng of beings are largely 
conditioned upon the wisdom of their sovereign Ego. 
They depend implicitly upon its sagacity, its vigilance, 
its courage, and its prudence to carry them safely 
through the innumerable dangers that beset their 
existence, — dangers which they can neither foresee 
nor guard against. They assist, according to their 
several endowments. One great division is organized 
as a corps of observation, another has been detailed 
and specially trained to gather information by the use 
of articulate speech, and this other constitutes the 
auditory system; but their activities are of no avail 
unless the Ego, or one of its trained representatives 
in a subordinate nerve-centre, elaborates the infor- 
mation received and gives effect to it through other 
sets of carefully educated, executive workers. 

The higher we rise in the scale of being the more 
prominently does the non-mechanical aspect of this 
relationship appear, and the more clearly is the func- 
tion of the Ego seen to be that of a far-seeing and over- 
ruling wisdom. 


In the lower organisms, the quickness and uniformity 
of the responses to external influences, may suggest 
mechanism; but the more the Ego becomes developed 
the more critically does it consider the reports and 
petitions that are sent up by its subjects; and the more 
competent does it become to correct, to refuse, to 
modify, to reconstruct, and even to revolutionize. 
It becomes too wise to satisfy every appetite that 
importunes, according to the measure of its demands. 
The word discipline calls up to the memory of 
every moral man numberless occasions on which he 
has played the part of an inflexible ruler and governor. 
He has been hard pressed by the opposing claims of 
diverse interests in his little world; and he has found 
his wisdom sorely puzzled to adjust these, to give a 
reasonable satisfaction in many directions, so that 
there shall be no cause for desolating rebellions among 
his subjects. 

Another side of the matter illustrated by our anal- 
ogy is that of the worth of the subordinate individual. 
Cells, it is true, are continually perishing and their 
places are taken by others. They succeed each other 
as the generations of men succeed each other in the 
social organism. But, while it lives, every living cell 
has functions to perform, the significance of which 
cannot be isolated from the significance of the whole. 
The faithful performance of its part contributes some- 
thing to the vitality of other members of the organism 
and, at the same time to the happiness and efficiency 
of the Ego. In this dual relationship, we have a unique 
symbol for illustrating the meaning of the dual state- 
ment of the great law of religion and morality: "Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy 
neighbour as thyself.' ' 


Duty to one's neighbour is not something separate 
from, and superadded to, duty to one's God. It is, in 
the organic unity of the world, only a different aspect 
of the same duty. Devotion to the Supreme Being 
can realize itself in only one way, — faithfulness to 
organic relations. The immediate concern of each 
individual element, or being, is the discharge of its 
special functions as related to other beings. But this 
is made sublime and inspiring for man by the knowl- 
edge of his connection with the Supreme Ego. 

It has probably occurred to the reader that, in the 
development of the analogy derived from the physical 
organism, we have also availed ourselves of the closely 
related one of the social organism; and it may seem 
that there is something forced and artificial in striving 
to combine, in our thought of the Supreme Being and 
His human subjects, ideas acquired in departments 
of experience so separate. It may therefore be worth 
while to add to what has been said of the similarity 
and continuity of these departments, the considera- 
tion that they are in all respects homogeneous. They 
differ not in kind, only in degree. Every impor- 
tant characteristic of the one is represented to some 
extent in the other. In the social organism, as 
well as in the physical, the relations which we study 
are relations between organized groups of nerve-cells. 

The characteristic that specially distinguishes the 
relations of the social organism is that of externality. 
When one individual has relations with another 
he seems to be dealing with that which is no part of 
himself, but a separate entity, a separate focus of 
interests. A natural chasm has to be bridged by 
some means of communication. Contrasted with this, 
action within the physical organism seems to be direct, 


instantaneous, and accomplished without the inter- 
vention of means. 

But if we penetrate beneath this outside appear- 
ance of things, we shall see that in both cases there is 
another phase of the reality than that which has 
preoccupied the imagination; and that when this is 
taken into account, the two sets of relations declare 
themselves to be not essentially different, but only 
different in the degree of prominence developed in 
certain elements. We shall be convinced that our 
thought of ourselves, as contained within the little 
world of a physical organism, is a false suggestion of 
the imagination. Our existence extends as far as 
our communications extend. The head of the body 
politic, the ideal king or statesman, whose sight 
reaches to every quarter of a great realm, and whose 
comprehensive intelligence understands all the varied 
interests that balance each other within it, is a vast 
being compared with the day-labourer who has no 
thought above the routine of his occupation, though 
he may, perchance, have a larger body and a heavier 

The difference consists in this: that the statesman 
has brought into vital connection with his own brain 
the brains of a multitude of diverse individuals. If 
we allow our thoughts to be captured at this point 
by a contemplation of the means by which all this is 
brought about, we shall assuredly rest in that which 
is secondary and incidental, and lose sight of the 
essential fact. The man of high position in the state 
has, it is true, extended the field of his consciousness 
and power by means of such things as articulate sounds, 
printed books, letters hurried by steam from one end 
of the realm to the other, and by the use of electric 


wires stretched to every town and hamlet like the 
nerve-fibres of the body. 

But we must look underneath all this machinery 
to find the essential conditions of its effectiveness: 
namely, the fact that the brain masses belonging to 
all these individuals of the nation are homogeneous, 
and, therefore, capable of being linked together so as 
to pour all their knowledge into the combining con- 
sciousness of any individual whose capacity is equal 
to its reception. From this point of view, therefore, 
the externality of the relations between individuals 
has to give place to another phase of the truth that 
is equally real and more vital. 

And furthermore, when we examine the phenomena 
that characterize the interaction of the elements 
within the physical organism, the impression of immedi- 
ateness and absence of means vanishes. There is 
no internal communication that does not require 
time for its transmission; and all the intercourse that 
takes place between individual elements within the 
organism is as dependent upon means as that which 
takes place outside of it. Much attention has, of 
late years, been given to the accurate measurement 
of the intervals that elapse between the reception of 
stimuli by different exterior organs and their percep- 
tion at headquarters. In short, scientific research 
tends continually to the abolition of those special 
marks by which we have discriminated between the 
intercourse of beings within and without the organism. 

We may then cherish a dual thought of God without 
contradiction. We may think of Him as our Sover- 
eign. We may picture to ourselves this vast universe 
as a network of means for conveying the knowledge 
of itself to the Being who dwells apart, separate 


in His individuality, yet so connected with each 
one of His creatures that nothing is indifferent 
to Him. On the other hand, when we think of 
our relations to the great sum of things, so connected 
in every part as to form an organic unity, and of the 
one life and order that flows through all, we have to 
put the thought of separateness far into the back- 
ground, concentrating our attention on the one organic 

Each of these views in its own place is best. No 
greater mistake can be made than to array them against 
each other. God dwells within His world, the very life 
and breath of all things. He is the great heart and 
brain of the universe. He is the Ego, for Whom 
and by Whom all things exist. Every plant and flower 
and every animated form is an expression of some 
thought of His. Every event that takes place in His 
world is an incident in His life. 

But, on the other hand, God is also transcendent. 
He is the Supreme Being of a vast hierarchy of beings. 
He is distinct from all the others, and above them 
all. They are His ministers that do His pleasure. He 
is their Sovereign, they are His subjects. He is their 
Father, they are His children. He is their Crea- 
tor, they are His instruments. He directs and over- 
rules their activities for the attainment of ends that 
dwell in His thought as ideals. 


Henri Bergson 

WHEN a scheme of thought comes into the 
world that compels the attention and 
admiration of many thinkers of divergent 
ways of looking at things, it is a phenom- 
enon worthy of our study. This is the significant fact 
with regard to the philosophy of Professor Henri Berg- 
son.* He is attracting to himself men of the most 
widely different outlooks, temperaments, and doctrines, 
each one of whom finds in him the endorsement of some- 
thing that is peculiarly dear to him. Seeing that his 
method is from first to last thoroughly pragmatic, that 
he goes direct to nature for his facts and gives the 
impression of great single-mindedness in his inter- 
pretation of them, it is no wonder that he is received 
with enthusiasm and acclaim by those who class them- 
selves as pragmatists. But, on the other hand, those 
of the opposite camp, the absolutists of various shades, 
would lock arms and claim him as their own.f 

* No citations of Bergson have been made in the foregoing 
pages, for the simple reason that the author had not read any 
of the works of that distinguished writer till after his own book 
(with the exception of Chapter I and the Appendices) was 

f See Review by J. H. Muirhead, Hibbert Journal, April, 
1911, p. 895. 



We can hardly explain this condition of things 
by qualities of attractiveness in style and form, 
though Bergson has these qualities in a remarkable 
degree. In the words of Professor James, "The 
rarity is when great peculiarity of vision is allied 
with great lucidity and unusual command of all the 
classic expository apparatus. Bergson's resources in 
the way of erudition are remarkable, and in the 
way of expression they are simply phenomenal. 
This is why in France, where Vart de bien dire 
counts for so much and is so sure of appreciation, 
he has immediately taken so eminent a place in pub- 
lic esteem." * 

The very possession of these qualities, again, forbids 
us to attribute the consensus of approval to vagueness 
or indeterminateness in the presentation of his views. 
He asks us, it is true, to follow him sometimes into 
nebulous reaches of thought where intellectual breath- 
ing is difficult. James avers that many of his ideas 
baffle him entirely. But it is not in these alone, but 
also in the open fields of constructive philosophizing 
that the stamp of approval is set and the claim of 
fellowship made. We must, then, go deeper down to 
find the secret; and I believe it to be condensed in 
that well-worn formula: "One touch of nature makes 
the world akin." A distinctive thing about Bergson 
is that he brings his great store of resources and 
gifts to bear without hindrance from disabling pre- 
possessions. He is thoroughly emancipated from the 
spell which Darwinism and the mechanical view of 
the universe have exercised over so many minds, some 
of them of a high order. 

He goes to nature open-eyed, not labouring under the 
* "A Pluralistic Universe," p. 226. 


necessity of making what he finds there tally with 
the theory of "Natural Selection " or with that of the 
creation of new forms by the very unoriginating 
principle of heredity. On the contrary, his philosophy 
is a frank return to seeing the world as the unscientific 
see it. It restores the psychological, spiritual aspect 
of it, which the speculative science of the last century 
did so much to banish. It removes the opacity and 
dullness that prevailed under this regime, and permits 
us to think the world with the fresh thoughts of 
children. There is a buoyancy and a tonic in this 
philosophy that is specially acceptable in an age of 
pessimistic exhalations. It restores vitality to that 
which was becoming anemic, hope and expectancy to 
a world whose outlooks seemed to be fast closing up. 

Bergson does not enter the domain of theology, or 
postulate, as we do, an all-pervading intelligence at 
the heart of things, but he points persistently in 
this direction and, by his implications, pushes us 
toward some such hypothesis. His attitude toward 
a solely mechanical interpretation of the universe is 
explicit. This is, he tells us, the outcome of a 
habit into which the intellect has been betrayed 
by the instrumental use of material things. It, the 
intellect, unconsciously forms for itself a frame- 
work of knowledge into which all its experiences 
fit, except those which touch life. It is "at home 
in the presence of unorganized matter. This mat- 
ter it makes use of more and more by mechan- 
ical inventions; and mechanical inventions become 
the easier to it the more it thinks matter as 
mechanism. The intellect bears within itself, in the 
form of natural logic, a latent geometrism that 
is set free in the measure and proportion that the 


intellect penetrates into the inner nature of inert 
matter." * 

So long, therefore, as it deals only with the inanimate, 
all the facts fit into the frame-work perfectly. But 
immediately it claims universality for this mould of 
thought, it gets into difficulties; for life is incapable 
of being forced into it otherwise than by a convention 
which eliminates from it all that is essential. To 
correct this aberration, he begins by tracing a defin- 
itive line between the inert and the living, which 
leaves us free to adopt a special attitude toward the 
latter and to examine it with other eyes than those ot 
positive science. Life or creative force is, he holds, 
the antithesis of mechanism and matter; and the facts 
of evolution, far from necessitating or inviting a 
mechanical interpretation, are the contradiction of it. 
He asks, "Can the insufficiency of mechanism be 
proved by facts?" and answers, "If this demonstra- 
tion is possible, it is on condition of frankly accepting 
the evolutionist hypothesis." f 

The dualism, thus postulated at the outset of the 
discussion, persists through the whole course of the 
argument. In the universe, to use his own words, "two 
opposite movements are to be distinguished, descent 
and ascent. The first only unwinds a roll already pre- 
pared. In principle it might be accomplished almost 
instantaneously, like releasing a spring. But the ascend- 
ing movement, which corresponds to an inner working 
of ripening or creating, endures essentially and imposes 
its rhythm on the first, which is inseparable from it." J 

* "Creative Evolution," by Henri Bergson, Member of 
the Institute, Professor at the College de France. Translated 
by Arthur Mitchell, Ph.D., p. 195. 

t Ibid., p. 53. t Ibid., $.11. 


These movements, which correspond to the two most 
general laws of our science, the principle of the 
degradation of energy and that of its conservation, are 
antagonistic to each other. On the one hand, we see 
the world running down, unmaking itself, descending 
all the time into stereotyped, material forms; and, on 
the other, a counter movement of ascent through a 
creative impulse which, great as it is, has yet a ten- 
dency to exhaust itself. "All our analogies show us 
in life an effort to remount the incline that matter 
descends; in that they reveal to us the possibility, 
the necessity even, of a process, the inverse of 
materiality, creative of matter by its interruption 
alone."* This fundamental discrimination sends a 
clarifying current through the vexed questions that 
confront us everywhere in connection with life's varied 
antagonisms. The struggle for existence, the conflict 
between its varied forms, the retrograde movement 
that sets in immediately upon the cessation of effort, the 
phenomena of old age and decay, the difficulty and 
labour involved in the improvement of human con- 
ditions, the painfully slow increase of intelligence, 
the decay of instinct, and the late emergence of moral 
discriminations — all these and a multitude of similar 
situations find in this dual movement a satisfactory 

They are not, thereby, teleologically explained, but 
they are securely lodged in the first indispensable stage 
of explanation. By referring them to the two great 
tendencies of nature above mentioned, these facts are 
ranged as necessary and homogeneous parts of the 
great universal scheme of things in which we find our- 
selves. The "tremendous internal push" that is the 
* Ibid., p. 245. 


cause of vital evolution is, according to Bergson, the out- 
come of a need of creation. "It cannot create abso- 
lutely because it is confronted with matter, that is to 
say, with the movement that is the inverse of its own. 
But it seizes upon matter, which is necessity itself and 
strives to introduce into it the largest possible amount 
of indetermination and liberty."* But, as it is a 
limited force seeking to transcend itself, it always 
remains inadequate to its work. From the bottom to 
the top of the organized world we observe one great 
effort, but everywhere there is manifest a dispropor- 
tion between it and the result. 

As to the use of the word impetus for the designation 
of the life principle, Bergson recognizes its insufficiency 
and its misleading implications. He says, "It must be 
compared to an impetus because no image borrowed 
from the physical world can give more nearly the idea 
of it. But it is only an image. In reality life is of 
the psychological order." f It is only in its contact 
with matter that it is comparable to an impulsion or 
an impetus, " regarded in itself, it is an immensity of 

Throughout the discussion, this view of the nature of 
the vital principle is honoured. The concept impetus 
is largely replaced by that of effort and always with 
the suggestion of conscious, intelligent effort. "It 
is the role of life," he tells us, "to insert some inde- 
termination into matter." To this end it "seizes 
upon matter." Its "main energy has been spent in 
creating apparatus." It "is always seeking to tran- 
scend itself." It "hesitates." "It finds only one way 
of succeeding." In short, it is only through the use of 
terms implying intelligence and will that he makes 
* Ibid., p. 251. t IWd., p. 257. 


the process intelligible to us. Every relapse to the 
mechanical thought acts as a shutter to the under- 

Again, the necessity for postulating an indwelling 
intelligence is, it seems to me, latent in Bergson's 
account of instinct and intelligence. These two, he 
holds, are not things of the same order. They are at 
once mutually complementary and mutually antag- 
onistic. The following paragraph is italicized by our 
author: "The cardinal error which, from Aristotle 
onward, has vitiated most of the philosophies of 
nature is to see in vegetative, instinctive, and rational 
life, three successive degrees of the development of one 
and the same tendency, whereas they are three diver- 
gent directions of an activity that has split up as it 
grew." * Accepting this, what shall we say is the nature 
of the original "activity"? and what has caused it 
to split up into two kinds, antagonistic and comple- 
mentary to each other? In the beginning they were 
one psychic activity, and because they were originally 
interpenetrating they retain always something of 
their common origin. "There is no intelligence in 
which some traces of instinct are not to be discovered, 
more especially no instinct that is not surrounded by 
a fringe of intelligence." f This accounts for the fact 
that they have been generally regarded as of the same 
kind, while "in reality they accompany each other 
only because they are complementary." 

The point, I take it, is that they are the same from 
one point of view, that of their essential nature; but 
distinctly different from another point of view, that of 
their functioning. They both, we are told, involve 
knowledge — "in the case of instinct, unconscious, in 
* P. 135. f Ibid., p. 186. 


the case of intelligence, conscious."* Though so 
different, however, they are both innate. Instinct is 
the knowledge of things, concrete situations; intelli- 
gence is the knowledge of relations. "If instinct is, 
above all, the faculty of using an organized natural in- 
strument, it must involve innate knowledge (potential, 
or unconscious, it is true), both of this instrument and 
of the object to which it is applied. Instinct is, there- 
fore, innate knowledge of a thing. But intelligence is 
the faculty of constructing unorganized (that is to 
say artificial), instruments. . . . The essential func- 
tion of intelligence is, therefore, to see the way out of 
a difficulty in any circumstances whatever, to find 
what is most suitable, what answers best the question 
asked." t 

An intelligent being, therefore, bears within himself 
the means to transcend his own nature; not, however, 
in virtue of his intelligence, but because this is supple- 
mented by instinct. "There are things that intelli- 
gence alone is able to seek, but which, by itself, it will 
never find. These things instinct alone could find; 
but it will never seek them." J I think it will be 
generally conceded that this account describes truth- 
fully the salient characteristics of instinct and intelli- 
gence, and that the claim that they are, as related to 
the activities of the individual, different in kind, is well 
grounded in experience. 

As we look on this side and on that, each antithetical 
statement commends itself as true; but we get no 
intelligible idea of how they are combined in operation, 
or how their difference has originated; nor can we, 
unless we should find, somewhere among our concrete 
experiences, a combination of diverse and yet similar 
* Ibid., p. 145. t Ibid., p. 150. % Ibid., p. 161. 


influences functioning in somewhat the same way, 
and thus reach a serviceable understanding of their 
relations. Such a concrete experience is, it seems to 
me, afforded us in the duality of the motives by 
which our daily lives are regulated. We may divide 
these motives into two distinct classes: first, those 
which have been self-elaborated, gradually reached 
through reason and experience; and, second, those 
which have had their rise quite independently of any 
intellectual processes of ours. 

In other words, everything adduced by Professor 
Bergson to explain the difference between intelligence 
and instinct applies perfectly to the difference between 
the knowledge which a man works out for himself and 
that which has been worked out for him by some other 
man. Intelligence, then, is one's own intelligence. 
Instinct is the intelligence of another, appearing in 
experience as an impulsion to perform certain definite 
acts, the reasons for which are known only to a more 
comprehensive wisdom. Thus we are again urged in the 
direction of the hypothesis of a higher intelligence with 
which we are intimately and organically connected. 

As regards teleology, Bergson holds a middle course. 
After demonstrating the insufficiency of the mechanical 
explanation, he turns to the consideration of purpose 
or finalism; and his first word with regard to it is that 
" radical finalism" is quite as unacceptable as radical 
mechanism, and for the same reason. "The doctrine 
of teleology in its extreme form, as we find it in Leibniz, 
for example, implies that things and beings merely 
realize a programme previously arranged. There is 
nothing unforeseen, no invention or creation in the 
universe. As in the mechanical hypothesis, here again 
it is supposed that all is given. Finalism, thus under- 


stood, is only inverted mechanism."* But, on the 
other hand, "finalism is not, like mechanism, a doc- 
trine with fixed, rigid outlines. It admits of as many- 
inflexions as we like. The mechanistic philosophy is 
to be taken, or left: it must be left if the least grain 
of dust, by straying from the path foreseen by me- 
chanics, should show the slightest trace of spontaneity. 
The doctrine of final causes, on the contrary, will never 
be definitely refuted. If one form of it be put aside, 
it will take another. Its principle, which is essentially 
psychological, is very flexible. It is so extensible, and 
thereby so comprehensive, that one accepts something 
of it as soon as one rejects pure mechanism. The 
theory we shall put forward in this book will therefore 
necessarily partake of finalism to a certain extent." f 
As matter of fact, Bergson makes a very generous 
use of teleology; for while he most carefully abstains 
from postulating any definiteness of plan in nature, and 
duly emphasizes the fact that the study of the process, 
in detail, is continually leading us into the wilderness 
he calls attention to the fact that there are two or three 
highways, and that by following these as closely as 
possible we shall be sure of not going astray; and fur- 
thermore, that what concerns us particularly is the road 
that leads to man. Man is unique. He alone has 
broken through the barrier that holds the rest of 
creation in abeyance. In a special sense, man is the 
term and the end of evolution. Not that he is the 
sole end, or the end in any such sense that it can be 
said that all the rest of nature is for the sake of man. 
He has struggled like the other species, he has struggled 
against other species. "Evolution has been accom- 
plished on several divergent lines; and while the 
* Ibid., p. 34. t Ibid., p. 40. 


human species is at the end of one of them, other 
lines have been followed with other species at their 
end." * 

In his struggle upward, man has suffered losses. 
He has not only abandoned cumbersome baggage 
on the way; he has also had to give up valuable 
goods. As regards some kinds of instinct, he is 
manifestly inferior to animals lower in the scale. 
"It is as if a vague and formless being, whom we 
may call, as we will, man or superman, had sought 
to realize himself and had succeeded only by aban- 
doning a part of himself on the way. The losses 
are represented by the rest of the animal world and 
even by the vegetable world. . . . From this point 
of view the discordances, of which nature offers us the 
spectacle, are singularly weakened. The organized 
world, as a whole, becomes as the soil on which was 
to grow either man himself or a being who morally 
must resemble him. The animals, however distant they 
may be from our species, however hostile to it, have 
none the less been useful travelling companions, on 
whom consciousness has unloaded whatever encum- 
brances it was dragging along, and who have enabled 
it to rise, in man, to heights from which it sees an 
unlimited horizon open before it." f 

Bergson, furthermore, gives side glances at certain 
pregnant outcomes of evolution that, focalized, are 
capable of conducting us to a much more definite 
teleology than that for which he makes himself respon- 
sible. There are certain results of the process which, in 
the body of this book, we have called its indirect incre- 
ment, its by-products. They are, as related to man's 
purposes and efforts, unexpected side issues; but, as 
* Ibid., p. 266. Ibid., p. 266. 


related to the highest results of evolution, they are 
the matters that, above all others, have significance 
and persistent value. Bergson, now and again, while 
emphasizing the fact that intelligently-made mechan- 
ism has contributed to, and greatly modified, human 
evolution, recognizes, as it were with bated breath, the 
importance of these indirect, unintended promoters 
of it. 

"A noteworthy fact is the extraordinary dispropor- 
tion between the consequences of an invention and the 
invention itself. We have said that invention is 
modelled on matter and that it aims, in the first place, 
at fabrication. But does it fabricate in order to 
fabricate, or does it not pursue involuntarily, and even 
unconsciously, something entirely different? Fabri- 
cating consists in shaping matter, in making it supple 
and in bending it, in converting it into an instrument 
in order to become master of it. It is this mastery that 
profits humanity much more even than the material 
result of the invention itself. Though we desire an 
immediate advantage from the thing made, as an 
intelligent animal might do, and though this advantage 
be all the inventor sought, it is a slight matter com- 
pared with the new ideas and new feelings that the new 
invention may give rise to in every direction, as if the 
essential part of the effect was to raise us above our- 
selves and enlarge our horizon. Between the effect 
and the cause the disproportion is so great that it is 
difficult to regard the cause as producer of its effect."* 

If the principle here illustrated manifested itself in 

no other way than in that above noticed, we could put 

it aside with an interrogation; it is, we might say, an 

experience awaiting more light for explanation. But, 

* Ibid., p. 182. 


far from being isolated, its manifestation is as broad 
as life and as varied as human endeavour. And the 
mystery of it, without the hypothesis of a divinity that 
shapes our ends, is equally great in every class of our 

All our real growth, our actual progress in the 
scale of being, is in the beginning achieved by this same 
method of indirection; and though it is only at an 
advanced stage that we learn to pursue life's higher 
ends consciously and directly, yet when this stage is 
reached and we recognize character as the supreme 
value toward which evolution moves, then it is that 
we are in a position to construct a working teleology, 
looking before and after. Such an interpretation of 
life's meaning will still lack definiteness. It cannot 
be outlined with mathematical precision. It must be 
always growing with our growing ideals; but the 
direction of it, and the nature of the Supreme Real- 
ity that is at once its Source and its End, becomes 
increasingly known to us. Bergson, in another con- 
nection, recognizes the possibility of thus penetrating 
to the inwardness, the " intention," of life by the use 
of the activity which he calls intuition. "It is to the 
very inwardness of life that intuition leads us — by 
intuition I mean instinct that has become disinter- 
ested, self-conscious, capable of reflecting upon its 
object and enlarging it indefinitely." * 

If I am not mistaken, this describes, in different 
language, the very process above outlined. In all our 
strivings to better ourselves, whether by creation or 
by acquisition, the immediate object of our ambition 
is something clearly and definitely apprehended by 
intelligence. But the underlying motive that urges us 
* Ibid., p. 176. 


on, is instinctive — the instinct that craves self-realiza- 
tion in some form. And some degree of self-realization 
is, as we have seen, the only result of the striving that 
is of persistent value. It is only when, subsequently, 
this value is forced upon our attention, that we 
begin to understand the true meaning and intention 
of life. 

The importance of such a contribution as this of 
Professor Bergson to the modern science of theology 
cannot be indicated in a slight sketch like the present 
one. It needs careful study and quiet thought. It is 
a deep well of wisdom, though it assumes to be only 
the beginning of a philosophy. 

Its reserves enhance its value; for they produce 
upon us the impression that the work moves, primarily, 
and without prejudice, in the interests of science and 
philosophy. As related to theology it is the supplier 
of materials ready shaped for building, and of instru- 
ments well tempered for use. Or, we might say, it is 
a competent guide through the territory of science and 
philosophy up to the borders of theology, where we 
find paths continuous with those which we have 
travelled in the author's company. I say paths, for 
there are many, taking their departure from diverse 
points and converging to one common centre.